WWC review of this study

An evaluation of the Positive Action program for youth violence prevention: From schools to summer camps.

Patel, M. M., Liddell, J. L., & Ferreira, R. J. (2018). Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 35(5), 519–530. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-018-0536-6.

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
    , grades

Reviewed: February 2022

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Student Behavior outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Peer Self-Esteem Scale

Positive Action Adapted for a Summer Camp vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
239 students





Normative Beliefs about Aggression Scale

Positive Action Adapted for a Summer Camp vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
220 students





Bullying Scale

Positive Action Adapted for a Summer Camp vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
239 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Female: 55%
    Male: 45%

  • Urban
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    Other or unknown


The study took place in 12 teen career summer camps in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Study sample

A total of 239 youth entering grades 8 through 10 were included in the study. The 239 youth attended 12 summer camps. Approximately 55% of the youth were female. Ninety-seven percent were Black and 3% did not report race. Youth were eligible to participate in the study if they were English-speaking, non-English learners and did not have a cognitive impairment.

Intervention Group

Youth in the intervention condition attended summer camps offering the Positive Action program over 6 weeks. Positive Action aims to prevent problem behaviors as well as promote positive youth development. The content of the program is delivered via six core units: self-concept, positive actions for your body and mind, managing yourself responsibly, treating others the way you want to be treated, telling yourself the truth, and improving yourself continually. Positive Action includes 140 lessons which are estimated to last 15 minutes each. Each lesson includes all materials necessary to teach the lesson, including manuals, posters, puppets, music, games, and other hands-on materials integrated into the lessons. Outside of Positive Action, some camps were already implementing activities to build youth's character development skills, and these activities continued during the study.

Comparison Group

Comparison group summer camps did not offer Positive Action. Youth attending these camps received traditional camp programs over the 6-week study period. At some camps, the traditional camp programs included activities to build youth's character development skills.

Support for implementation

Summer camps which chose to implement the Positive Action intervention were required to send at least one camp teacher to a 1-day training on Positive Action.


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