The Aban Aya Youth Project

An Evidence-Based Practice


The Aban Aya Youth Project included two interventions: a Social Development Curriculum and a School Community Intervention, as well as a control condition. The interventions included the Nguzo Saba principles, which promote African American cultural values such as unity, self-determination, and responsibility; culturally based teaching methods (eg, storytelling and proverbs); and African and African American history and literature. University-based health educators delivered curricula in all three conditions, usually in social studies classes.

The Social Development Curriculum was classroom based, consisting of 16 to 21 lessons per year in grades five through eight. The Social Development Curriculum was designed to teach cognitive-behavioral skills to build self-esteem and empathy, manage stress and anxiety, develop interpersonal relationships, resist peer pressure, and develop decision-making, problem-solving, conflict-resolution, and goal-setting skills. It was structured to teach application of these skills to avoid violence, provocative behavior, school delinquency, drug use, and unsafe sexual behaviors.

The School Community Intervention included the Social Development Curriculum plus parental support, school climate, and community components to impact all social domains of influence on children. Each School Community Intervention formed a local school task force consisting of school personnel, students, parents, community advocates, and project staff to implement the program components, propose changes in school policy, develop other school-community liaisons supportive of school-based efforts, and solicit community organizations to conduct activities to support the School Community Intervention efforts.

The control condition was the health enhancement curriculum. It consisted of the same number of lessons as the Social Development Curriculum and taught some of the same skills (eg, decision making and problem solving), but with a focus on promoting healthy behaviors related to nutrition, physical activity, and general health care.

Goal / Mission

The goal of this intervention was to reduce high-risk behavior as measured by student self-reports of violence, provocative behavior, school delinquency, substance use, and sexual behaviors (intercourse and condom use).

Results / Accomplishments

For boys, the Social Development Curriculum and School Community Intervention significantly reduced the rate of increase in violent behavior (by 35%, p=0.05, and 47%, p=0.02, compared with the control condition, respectively) and drug use (32%, p=0.05, and 34%, p=0.05). For boys, The School Community Intervention significantly reduced provoking behavior (by 59%, p=0.03, compared with the control condition), school delinquency (66%, p<.001), recent sexual intercourse (65% p=0.02), and condom use (165%, p=0.05).There were no significant effects for girls.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Laurie Rose, Director of Customer Support, Sociometrics
Health Research and Policy Centers
University of Illinois at Chicago
850 W Jackson Blvd, Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60607
Health / Teen & Adolescent Health
Education / School Environment
Health / Substance Abuse
University of Illinois at Chicago
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Date of publication
Date of implementation
Geographic Type
For more details
Target Audience
Teens, Men
Additional Audience
African Americans