Objectives.

This study assessed the effectiveness of an inner-city peer-mentoring program in modifying the attitudes and behaviors involving violence of preadolescent mentees.

Methods.

In a case-matched cohort study involving 7- to 13-year-old children, 50 children enrolled in peer mentoring (case subjects) were compared with 75 control subjects. Case subjects were involved before enrollment in the community program in which the intervention occurred; control subjects lived in the same housing project and were matched with case subjects on age, sex, and census tract. A total of 19 community adolescents mentored the case subjects by designing and presenting violence prevention lessons. Two reliable self-report scales, Determining our Viewpoints of Violent Events and Normative Beliefs About Aggression Scale, were used to measure attitudinal change. Teachers completed the Revised Behavior Problem Checklist to assess changes in behavior.

Results.

At baseline, the survey scores of the case and control subjects were not different. After the intervention period, the case scores indicated less support for violence than the control scores. Case behavior scores did not change, but control behavior scores worsened.

Conclusions.

The data suggest that peer mentoring for younger children may be an important component of efforts to reduce youth violence. A larger multisite trial is warranted. violence prevention, peer mentoring, community-based.

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