Adolescents are often resistant to interventions that reduce aggression in children. At the same time, they are developing stronger beliefs in the fixed nature of personal characteristics, particularly aggression. The present intervention addressed these beliefs. A randomized field experiment with a diverse sample of Grades 9 and 10 students (ages 14-16, n = 230) tested the impact of a 6-session intervention that taught an incremental theory (a belief in the potential for personal change). Compared to no-treatment and coping skills control groups, the incremental theory group behaved significantly less aggressively and more prosocially 1 month postintervention and exhibited fewer conduct problems 3 months postintervention. The incremental theory and the coping skills interventions also eliminated the association between peer victimization and depressive symptoms.
© 2012 The Authors. Child Development © 2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.