Aban Aya Youth Project (Aban Aya) is a program developed specifically for African American youth that comprises two interrelated components: a social development curriculum (SDC) that is administered in classrooms by teachers and a school–community intervention (SCI), which enhances the SDC classroom component by bringing in the surrounding community. Aban Aya seeks to reduce and prevent five problem behaviors for African American youth:
· Provoking behavior
· Substance use
· School delinquency
· Early sexual activity/risky sexual activity
Students are taught how to resolve conflicts in a nonviolent manner and refusal skills to avoid using drugs and alcohol. The curriculum promotes the values of abstinence but also includes safe sex practices to reach out to youth who may already be sexually active. These problem behaviors are addressed while emphasizing self-esteem and cultural pride, and strengthening family and community ties. Prior research suggests that these cultural elements are important when working with African American youths. The program name comes from the Akan language, spoken in
The Aban Aya Youth Project was specifically designed for African American youth. It is suitable for males in middle school or between the ages of 10 and 14.
The Afrocentric SDC is administered in schools over the span of 4 years, starting in the fifth grade and ending in eighth grade. The lessons are classroom based and last approximately 40–45 minutes each. Lessons vary from year to year, both in number and in content, but focus on teaching substance abuse refusal skills, conflict resolution, abstinence, and sex education.
The more comprehensive intervention component, the SCI, enhances the SDC classroom intervention by providing community empowerment sections. These include parent support programs, school staff and schoolwide youth support programs, and an overarching community program to build connections between parents, schools, local businesses, and agencies. The parental support program reinforces skills learned in the classroom and works on child–parent communication. These efforts are part of getting all interested parties involved and working toward the same common goal of raising healthy children.
Program Theory/Key Personnel
The Aban Aya Youth Project was built by taking elements from previously existing programs and blending them with newly developed, Afrocentric segments. Course materials and lesson plans were either adapted from existing prevention programs or newly created. The SDC component relies largely on cognitive–behavioral skills and existing research on risk and protective factors. The SCI component engages all stakeholders in the community, from parents to local businesses, in an effort to promote sustainability of the classroom curriculum and create a sense of common ownership for youth involved in the program.
10 to 14
Flay and colleagues (2004) found no significant program effects of the Aban Aya Youth Project (Aban Aya) for girls. As such, only program effects for boys are reported. Across all conditions, including the control health enhancement curriculum (HEC), researchers found an increase in problem behaviors. However, boys receiving one of the treatment conditions showed less of an increase in these behaviors than boys receiving the control condition: There were significant program effects for all problem behaviors for boys receiving Aban Aya’s school–community intervention (SCI). There were marginal effects for all problem behaviors for boys receiving the Aban Aya social development curriculum (SDC).
At baseline, there was a significant difference between the SDC intervention group and the SCI group. Boys scheduled to receive the SCI engaged in more violence than boys scheduled to receive the SDC intervention. At follow-up, violence increased for all groups, but the boys receiving SDC and SCI showed less of an increase in violence compared to the control condition. Specifically, the increased violence of the SDC group was 35 percent lower than the control condition, while the SCI was 47 percent lower.
At follow-up, provoking behavior increased for all groups, but the boys receiving SDC and SCI showed less of an increase in provoking behavior compared to the control condition: The increased provoking behavior of the SDC group was 41 percent lower than that of the control condition, while the SCI was 59 percent lower.
At follow-up, school delinquency increased for all groups, but the boys receiving SDC and SCI showed less of an increase in school delinquency compared to the control condition. Specifically, the increased school delinquency of the SDC group was 31 percent lower compared to that of the control condition; the SCI was 66 percent lower.
At follow-up, substance use increased for all groups, but the boys receiving SDC and SCI showed less of an increase in substance use compared to the control condition. The increased substance use of the SDC group was 32 percent lower compared to the substance use of the control condition; the SCI was 34 percent lower.
Early Sexual Activity/Risky Sexual Activity
At follow-up, early sexual activity increased for all groups, but the boys receiving SDC and SCI showed less of an increase in early sexual activity compared to the control condition. Specifically, the increased sexual activity of the SDC group was 44 percent lower than the control condition, while the SCI was 65 percent lower. The relative improvement in the rate of condom use was 95 percent for SDC boys and 165 percent for SCI boys. That is, boys in the intervention used condoms much more than boys in the control condition.
SCI Versus SDC Intervention
Additional analysis revealed that for all problem behaviors, boys receiving SCI benefited more than boys receiving the SDC intervention. They demonstrated less of an increase in problem behaviors. Only one of these results was significant, however: SCI boys showed less of an increase in school delinquency compared to SDC boys.
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