A school-based intervention to reduce aggressive behavior in maladjusted adolescents

Zipora Shechtman, Rachel Nachshol

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A structured group intervention, using bibliotherapy and clarifying processes, was designed to reduce (a) aggressive behavior, (b) endorsement of beliefs that support aggression, and (c) generally maladjusted behavior. Based on the belief that learning is not only a rational process, but incorporates a strong emotionally driven experiential system, this treatment program sets out to deal with emotions associated with aggression. It is psychodynamically oriented, and, like most school treatments implements cognitive and behavioral elements. For 2 years, 117 socially maladjusted male adolescents in three special education schools in Israel participated in the program. Results for the 2 years are inconsistent: the 2nd-year study was more effective than the 1st-year study in reducing aggression as well as other maladjusted social behavior; withdrawal was the only variable affected consistently, and the program did not reduce attitudes that support aggression. The control group, however, showed increased endorsement of beliefs that support aggression and increased aggression and acting-out behavior. These results support the intervention in two ways: (a) They suggest some control over the increase in maladjusted behavior with time, and (b) they indicate a reduction in aggressive behavior for most students. The salient result concerning change in withdrawal behavior is discussed in light of the psychodynamic principles and methods associated with the intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-552
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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