Developmental issues in school-based aggression prevention from a social-cognitive perspective

Paul Boxer, Sara E. Goldstein, Dara Musher-Eizenman, Eric F. Dubow, Donna Heretick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Contemporary research on the development and prevention of aggressive behavior in childhood and adolescence emphasizes the importance of social-cognitive factors such as perceptual biases, problem-solving skills, and social-moral beliefs in the maintenance of aggression. Indeed, school-based social-cognitive intervention approaches have been identified as best practices by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, because child age is an important covariate of both intervention effectiveness and social-cognitive ability, school-based prevention program designers should keep in mind a number of issues identified through developmental research. In this paper, we review the social-cognitive model of aggressive behavior development as applied to prevention programming. We then discuss some of the ways in which the broader developmental research base can inform the design of aggression prevention programs. Editors' Strategic Implications: Educational administrators and policy makers will find evidence in this review that school-based programs that employ a socialcognitive model represent a strategy that works for preventing violence. Prevention researchers will also benefit from the authors' insights regarding theoretical mediating processes and the importance of a developmental view.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-400
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Primary Prevention
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Aggression
  • Development
  • School-based prevention
  • Social cognitive


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