Evaluation of a School-Based Peer Mediation Program: Assessing Disputant Outcomes as Evidence of Success
Type of DegreeDissertation
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Peer mediation programs are frequently employed by school systems nationwide to help decrease rates of violence and promote constructive problem-solving methods. The current literature regarding evaluation of these programs provides a mixed picture related to their effectiveness. The literature largely fails to examine outcomes on disputants, who are arguably the group most impacted by this intervention. The current study seeks to expand the current literature by examining disputant outcomes after participation in mediation sessions utilizing a pre-posttest design. Two self-report measures examining conflict resolution strategies and beliefs about aggression were used to study disputant outcomes. Results of self-report measures given at pre and post test indicated disputants did not change their overall beliefs about retaliatory aggression but increased their endorsement of general aggressive beliefs at posttest. Results also indicated disputants endorsed using significantly less aggressive strategies in response to conflict scenarios after participation in mediation. This study does not support that peer mediation programs can be effective at changing core beliefs about aggression but does demonstrate children who participate in mediation are less likely to act on these aggressive beliefs in future conflict situations. Results support the need for more research investigating the impact of peer mediation programs on disputants.