Social Competence Promotion Program for Young Adolescents

An Effective Practice


The Social Competence Promotion Program for Young Adolescents (SCPP-YA) is a school prevention program that teaches students cognitive, behavioral, and affective skills and encourages them to apply these skills in dealing with daily challenges, problems, and decisions. The program targets African-American and white youths in middle and junior high schools.

The 45-session SCPP-YA has three modules. The first module includes 27 lessons of intensive instruction in social problem-solving (SPS) skills. Students are taught to 1) stop, calm down, and think before they act, 2) express the problem (aloud) and how they feel, 3) set a positive goal, 4) think of lots of solutions, 5) think ahead to the consequences, and 6) go ahead and try the best plan. These foundational lessons are followed by two nine-session programs that teach students to apply SPS skills to the prevention of substance abuse and high-risk sexual behavior. To foster the application and generalization of SPS concepts and skills to daily life, teachers are trained to model problem-solving to students in situations other than formal classroom lessons and to guide and encourage students to try out problem-solving strategies in school, at home, and in the community.

Goal / Mission

The goal of this program is to teach young adolescents self-control, stress management, social problem solving, and communication skills, and to encourage them to use those skills for the prevention of substance use and high-risk sexual behavior.

Results / Accomplishments

The evaluation found significant positive effects on minor delinquency as well as increases in or maintenance of positive behaviors for program youths, including improved behavioral conduct, involvement with peers, and social acceptance. Significant changes were noted for the intervention group for improvements in social problem-solving and attitudes for conflict-resolution strategies. Program participants improved more than controls in generating a greater number of cooperative solutions and more effective solutions. When compared with control group students, program students generated significantly lower percentages of aggressive and passive solutions from pretest to posttest. Program students liked peers who resolved conflicts in assertive ways significantly more than control students did, endorsed cooperative strategies more than control students, and were shown to respond more assertively rather than passively or aggressively to hypothetical situations. Primary teacher ratings showed that, relative to controls, program students improved significantly in behavioral conduct, but not in social acceptance by peers.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Roger Weissberg
Department of Psychology (M/C 285)
1007 West Harrison Street
University of Illinois - Chicago
Chicago, IL 60607-7137
(312) 355-0640
Education / School Environment
Health / Mental Health & Mental Disorders
Health / Teen & Adolescent Health
University of Illinois--Chicago
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Model Programs Guide (MPG)
Date of publication
For more details
Target Audience