Stephen W. Smith, University of Florida
Ann P. Daunic, University of Florida
Abstract: For several years, we have been investigating the efficacy of Tools for Getting Along (TFGA), an anger management curriculum designed to reduce maladaptive behavior and aggression. The intervention is universal, sustainable, and classroom-based and consists of 26-lessons designed to teach 4th and 5th grade students to replace disruptive/aggressive behaviors with constructive choices through use of social problem solving, a type of cognitive-behavioral intervention (CBI).
Using random assignment of schools to conditions and measures from multiple informants to assess treatment efficacy, we found significant knowledge gains and treatment-related reductions in teacher ratings of aggression. Despite modest treatment outcomes, issues related to sample size, data integrity, instrument reliability, and observer bias have hampered these preliminary research efforts.
Within the context of our prior work, we will detail how we plan to investigate intervention efficacy (a) using random assignment of matched schools to treatment or control groups, (b) training 4th and 5th grade teachers and guidance personnel to deliver and reinforce TFGA in treatment schools, (c) assessing net gains by comparing treatment and control school outcomes, and (d) using HLM to accommodate three levels of nested data: individual students, classrooms, and schools. Measures given pre and post intervention will include social problem solving, teacher-reports of behavior, student self-reports of anger expression and control, peer social preference and behavioral ratings, discipline referral data, and direct observations of classroom climate, as well as social validity.