Aggressive behaviour in children has been associated with serious mental, social, physical and emotional health effects, as well as poor academic achievement in the short and longer term. The Formative Study of Aggression Prevention and Reduction in Junior Primary School Children aimed to conduct a feasibility trial of current evidence-based practice to enhance social skills and reduce and prevent aggression among junior primary school age children. The study comprised three stages. The first stage investigated the risk and protective factors associated with direct and indirect aggressive behaviours among junior primary school students and the current practices of teachers and schools to address this behaviour. Stage 2 involved the linking of successful current practices to evidence-based research to inform the development of a teaching, learning (home and school) and pastoral care/behavioural management intervention. The third stage was used to validate and pilot test the acceptability of the whole school intervention and a proposed student evaluation instrument. After a comprehensive literature review had been conducted to identify successful classroom based interventions targeted at this age group to reduce or prevent aggressive behaviours, it was evident that relatively few interventions have been successfully implemented and tested and none that we were aware of had been implemented in Australia.
This study informed the three year, Healthway funded Childhood Aggression Prevention—CAP Project (2006-2008) that trialled a program combing best practices with state-of-the-art research and theory to enhance the capacity of schools, teachers, and peers to implement strategies that work best to support the positive social development of children who enter school showing problems with aggression.
Professor Donna Cross
Curtin University, Dr Greg Hamilton
Curtin University, Associate Professor Clare Roberts
Associate Professor Marg Hall