Evaluating the Violence Prevention Program: group and individual changes in aggression, anger, self-control, and empathy – 2017-10

While youth violence reduction program is a necessity to prevent long-term criminal and violent offending, its effectiveness in youth violent offenders is not well researched. This study investigated the effectiveness of the Violence Prevention Program (VPP) in addressing the aggression, anger, self-control, and empathy of youth violent offenders. One hundred and seventy youths (mean age 15.8 years) who completed VPP from 2008 to 2014 completed self-report measures on study outcomes both before and after the intervention. Repeated measures analyses revealed significant improvement in youths’ anger, aggression, and self-control at post-treatment, but changes in youths’ empathy were not significant. Subsequent analysis found that only youths with lower empathy scores at pre-treatment showed significant increase in empathy post-treatment. Overall, the results suggest that VPP can reduce aggression and mitigate the criminogenic needs of youth offenders. But its effect on empathy may be contingent on youths’ pre-treatment profiles. Limitations and implications for future studies are discussed.

Yu Qi Zhou, Daniel Zheng Qiang Gan, Eric Chin Chieh Hoo, Dominic Chong & Chi Meng Chu
The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 11 Oct 2017