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Prevention of peer rejection through a classroom-level intervention in middle school.

Mikami AY, Boucher MA, Humphreys K. Prevention of peer rejection through a classroom-level intervention in middle school. The Journal of Primary Prevention. 2005 Jan 1; 26(1):5-23.

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This project evaluated an intervention for preventing peer rejection in middle school that promoted social acceptance in the classroom environment. The systems-level and preventive focus of this intervention differed markedly from traditional interventions that target putative deficits within individual rejected children. In collaboration with 24 teachers and their classrooms, the intervention team led mixed groups of accepted and rejected children in cooperative games that required teamwork and mutual respect among all members in order to succeed. To reinforce these alliances between children, as well as to prevent future peer rejection, teachers were encouraged to use cooperative, teamwork-based group activities for academic instruction. The intervention was evaluated using a randomized control (waitlist) design. Results suggested that the intervention reduced the amount of self-reported peer rejection in classrooms. Implications for the further development and evaluation of systems-level interventions to prevent peer rejection are discussed. EDITORS' STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS: The use of a systems-based prevention program shows promise for the prevention of children's perceived peer rejection. The authors demonstrate a model of university-community collaboration with a plan for sustainability and a focus on low-income and minority populations. Educators, school administrators, and researchers will be intrigued by the positive experiences of non-rejected peers and teachers in promoting a socially accepting school climate.

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