Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School Psychology


Youth violence is a problem which has been studied through theoretical frameworks based on social ecological models of development. This has coincided with the development of programs intended to prevent and reduce the occurrence of youth violence and its negative effects. One approach to preventing youth violence has been to deliver social emotional learning programs to children and adolescents in school settings. Social emotional learning programs are designed to provide children with skills and strategies for increasing self awareness, social awareness, emotion management, problem solving, and thoughtful decision making. Increasing students' familiarity and use of these prosocial strategies are thought to reduce violence and other forms of aggression and antisocial behaviors. One of the most prominent programs used in schools to increase social emotional competence and reduce violence is Second Step. Several research studies have examined outcomes for students who have participated in the Second Step program. The present paper describes a meta-analytic approach to synthesizing research findings from primary research on Second Step through a social ecological framework by testing the hypotheses that program effects on student outcomes are moderated by geography, scale of program implementation, training for teachers, grade level package, and dependent variable reporter. Overall, students participating in Second Step demonstrated increased knowledge related to the topic areas of the curriculum. Students demonstrated increased prosocial outcomes after participation compared to pre-intervention levels of prosociality. Participation in the program was not associated with significant decreases in antisocial behavioral outcomes as rated by teachers or through student self-report. The effects of Second Step appear stable across geography, different levels of implementation scale, and teacher training.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.