WWC review of this study

An intervention for relational and physical aggression in early childhood: A preliminary study [Early Childhood Friendship Project vs. business as usual]

Ostrov, J. M., Massetti, G. M., Stauffacher, K., Godleski, S. A., Hart, K. C., Karch, K. M., Mullins, A. D., & Ries, E. E. (2009). Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 24(1), 15–28. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ830312

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    403
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: June 2022

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Social-Emotional Learning outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Early Childhood Observation System: Relational Aggression

The Early Childhood Friendship Project vs. Business as usual

1 Week

Full sample;
403 students

7.32

4.78

No

--
More Outcomes

Early Childhood Observation System: Physical Victimization

The Early Childhood Friendship Project vs. Business as usual

1 Week

Full sample;
403 students

7.09

4.56

No

--

Early Childhood Observation System: Physical Aggression

The Early Childhood Friendship Project vs. Business as usual

1 Week

Full sample;
403 students

8.54

5.89

No

--

Early Childhood Observation System: Relational Victimization

The Early Childhood Friendship Project vs. Business as usual

1 Week

Full sample;
403 students

4.45

3.67

No

--


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.


  • Suburban, Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
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    • P
    • M
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    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
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    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    Northeast
  • Race
    Other or unknown
    100%

Setting

The study took place in 18 classrooms across three public schools and four community-based centers. Eleven classrooms came from universal pre-kindergarten (preK) classrooms in three urban public schools in the northeast region of the United States. The remaining classrooms were at four preK centers that served urban and suburban areas. One intervention school and two comparison schools were private institutions with religious affiliation, while one comparison school was affiliated with a local college.

Study sample

The students in the sample were between ages 3 and 5, with a mean of 50 months. The study does not provide information on the race/ethnicity or gender of the students. The three public schools in the sample served ethnically diverse, low socio-economic status students, while the four centers in the sample served ethnically and socio-economically diverse students.

Intervention Group

The intervention group received the 6-week intervention focused on reducing aggression and peer victimization and on increasing prosocial behaviors. The intervention included a manual but interventionists could adjust and tailor the intervention to fit their individual classrooms. Each classroom received four components each week: (1) one puppet show (10 minutes; typically took place in circle time at beginning of the day); (2) one participatory activity (5-10 minutes; typically 1 or 2 days after the puppet show each week); (3) one concept rehearsal activity (5-10 minutes; typically 1 or 2 days after the puppet show each week, on a separate day from the participatory activity); and (4) three separate reinforcement sessions (1 hour each; typically occurred immediately after or during the next free play session after the puppet show, along with two other days that week). In Week 1, the components focused on introducing the program, building rapport, and addressing physical aggression. Week 2 focused on social exclusion and relational aggression; Week 3 focused on relational inclusion and prosocial behavior. Week 4’s theme was threats of relational withdrawal and relational aggression. Week 5 focused on skills for forming friendships and other prosocial behaviors, and Week 6 reviewed the prior lessons and concluded with a graduation ceremony.

Comparison Group

Classrooms in the comparison group received business as usual instruction. The study authors were available to the principals or center directors and other staff to provide consultation on developmental or clinical child psychology issues.

Support for implementation

The intervention was delivered by clinicians with post-bachelor or master’s level of education. Prior to implementation, the clinicians received 10 hours of group training over 3 days. This training focused on teaching about the manual, skills in flexibly using the puppets, use of developmentally appropriate praise, and practicing role plays. Throughout implementation, the clinicians met weekly with the first or second author in small groups to discuss any issues or concerns with implementation.

 

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