The impact of an elementary school-based violence prevention program on visits to the school nurse

Am J Prev Med. 1997 Nov-Dec;13(6):459-63.


Introduction: In Tucson, Arizona, an elementary school-based violence prevention program (PeaceBuilders) was implemented during the 1994-1995 school year. Anecdotal evidence from school nurses suggested that children were visiting the nurse less often following the implementation of the program. We examined nurses' logs to assess whether the program had an impact on visits to the school nurse.

Methods: For the school years 1993-1994 and 1994-1995, the weekly number of nurse visits for all reasons, all injuries, and injuries caused by fights in each of the four PeaceBuilders schools were compared with those for three control schools. As part of a planned evaluation, schools had been matched on demographic factors and randomly assigned as intervention or control schools.

Results: Between 1993-1994 and 1994-1995, the rate of visits/1,000 student days decreased 12.6% in the intervention schools while remaining unchanged in the comparison schools. The same trend was detected for injury-related visits. Rates of fighting-related injuries changed little in the intervention schools but increased 56.0% in the control schools. An analysis of covariance confirmed that injuries and visits to nurses decreased in intervention schools relative to control schools.

Conclusions: These data indicate that in the intervention schools, injuries and visits to the school nurse decreased over the two-year period and that the intervention may have contributed to this change. They also suggest that visits to the school nurses' office may be a useful tool to evaluate some types of elementary school-based violence prevention programs.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Arizona / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Nursing Records
  • School Nursing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Schools
  • Violence / prevention & control*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*