Health Promotion announcement
Positive Action logo
Positive Action logo
Positive Action logo
Positive Action logo
Positive Action logo
Evidence Based. Internationally Recognized.
Short URL

Study Finds Empirical Support for Fundamental Positive Action Theory

An analysis to be reported in the American Journal of Health Promotion has found empirical evidence of the theory underlying Positive Action: A link exists between positive and negative behaviors, and Positive Action reduces negative behaviors related to academic performance by increasing positive behaviors.

The analysis was undertaken to identify how appropriately designed and implemented social-emotional and character development (SECD) programs such as Positive Action can effectively reduce student substance use, violence and sexual activity.

Researchers examined data from a matched-pair, cluster-randomized, controlled design study in which Grade 5 students in 20 racially/ethnically diverse schools in Hawai'i reported their academic behavior and their substance use, violence and voluntary sexual activities. Their teachers also rated the students on most of these factors.

Researchers examined data from a matched-pair, cluster-randomized, controlled design study in which Grade 5 students in 20 racially/ethnically diverse schools in Hawai'i reported their academic behavior and their substance use, violence and voluntary sexual activities. Their teachers also rated the students on most of these factors.

Instead, the Positive Action intervention effects on negative behaviors were partially or completely mediated by positive academic-related behaviors. Although Positive Action intervention had a significant direct effect on academic behavior in both the student and teacher models, boys performed significantly lower on academic behavior than girls.

The students attending Positive Action intervention schools reported significantly better academic behavior and significantly fewer negative behaviors than students attending the control schools; boys reported more negative behaviors than girls. Intervention effects were mediated by positive academic behavior. Teacher reports corroborated the student reports.

In this analysis, researchers gained insight into one mechanism through which a SECD program affects negative outcomes. Their study supports Positive Youth Development (PYD) perspectives that posit that focusing on youths' assets and strengths may reduce negative behaviors.

These results have been included in the outcomes matrix.

Click here to review the reported outcomes.