Effects of Social and Emotional Skills Training on Sixth Grade Students' Knowledge of Prosocial Skills and Their Attitude toward Violence

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 1-1-2007


Campus Only

Submission Type


Degree Name



Counselor Education and Supervision (ExCES)


School of Education

Committee Chair

William J. Casile

Committee Member

David Delmonico

Committee Member

Maura F. Krushinski


attitude, middle school, prosocial skills, Second Step, sixth grade students, social skills, violence


Youth are exposed to an abundance of violence that threatens their well being and their lives. As a result, schools have attempted to implement programs to teach and integrate prosocial skills in middle schools. These violence prevention programs and their effectiveness have become an important focus of research. The purpose of this study was to determine if the Second Step violence prevention program (Committee for Children, 1997) significantly increases sixth grade students' understanding of prosocial skills, including problem solving, anger management, empathy, and impulse control, and if it changes their attitudes toward interpersonal violence to a more passive orientation. This study utilized extant data collected from 238 sixth grade students who participated in the Second Step program as part of a grant funded initiative in three middle schools in Western Pennsylvania. The Second Step Knowledge and Skill Survey (SS-1) and Attitudes Toward Interpersonal Violence Survey (AIV) were administered prior to and immediately following their participation in the Second Step Program. The students were pre-tested prior to the treatment and post-tested at the conclusion of the treatment. The Second Step middle school program consists of 15 lessons that were delivered as part of the school Health curriculum. The curriculum focuses on the development of prosocial skills in middle school students. An ANOVA and Pearson correlation were used to analyze the data. The findings in this study included an increase in students' understanding of prosocial skills and a positive relationship between prosocial skills knowledge and attitude toward violence. There was no significant difference found in sixth grade students' attitudes toward interpersonal violence. The results from this study may be beneficial to school counselors, community counselors, school districts, and others interested in the development of prosocial skills and violence prevention among youth.





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