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Am J Prev Med. 2007 Jul;33(1):65-74.

Effectiveness of interventions to prevent youth violence a systematic review.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, USA.



To identify interventions effective in preventing youth violent behavior and commonalities of effective and ineffective interventions.


A systematic review of the literature on the effectiveness of youth violence interventions was conducted. Interventions were categorized according to the level of the intervention: primary (implemented universally to prevent the onset of violence), secondary (implemented selectively with youth at increased risk for violence), and tertiary (focused on youth who had already engaged in violent behavior). An intervention was considered effective if one or more violence outcome indicators was reported as significantly different at the p<0.05 level, and ineffective if none of the violence outcome indicators was significantly different at the p<0.05 level. Data collection and analysis were conducted in 2003 and updated in 2006.


Forty-one studies were included in the review. Overall, 49% of interventions were effective. Tertiary-level interventions were more likely to report effectiveness than primary- or secondary-level interventions. Effective interventions evaluated by randomized controlled trials included Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways, Aban Aya Youth Project, Moving to Opportunity, Early Community-Based Intervention Program, Childhaven's Therapeutic Child-Care Program, Turning Point: Rethinking Violence, and a multisystemic therapy program. Differences among programs and within subpopulations could not be assessed because of inadequate data.


Increasing effectiveness was reported as the level of intervention increased from primary to tertiary. Approaches to evaluate prevention interventions need to be clarified and standardized.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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