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Good Behaviour Game

Quality level: 3

Summary

Preventing behaviour problems at an early age is probably resulting in a reduction of different problems, including substance use problems, at later age. The preventive intervention was a classroom-based game, that encouraged students to manage their own and their team mates behaviour. Desirable behaviours are encouraged or rewarded, undesirable ones neglected. Applying the Good Behavior Game (GBG) in elementary schools, resulted in reductions of tobacco use from age 10 to 13 years, but alcohol use remained equal (probably due to the very young age of the students). Follow-up measurements are necessary to determine longer-term effects.

Type of intervention:
prevention
Sub-area:
universal
Setting:
school
Type of approach:
Target group:
children/young people
Age group:
7 to 13 years
Annual coverage:
9999
Substances addressed:
tobacco, alcohol
Evaluation type:
outcome evaluation
Country:
The Netherlands
Start date:
01/01/1999
End date:

Overall objective

To explore the impact of the Good behaviour Game intervention on the development of tobacco and alcohol use in childhood from age 10 to 13 years (young elementary school children).

Abstract

Childhood disruptive behaviour is strongly related to a large number of serious problems in adolescence or early adulthood. Interventions at an early age that reduce disruptive behaviours at an early age, may reduce later problems, including substance use. The intervention in this study is a Dutch version of the American classroom-based Good Behavior Game (GBG). The GBG What is the effect on tobacco and alcohol use among elementary school children after a two-year intervention period (at age 10 to 13 years)? Teachers assign children to one of three to four teams and try to keep the percentage of disruptive and non-disruptive children equal over the teams. These assignments are based on behavioural observations. Children are encouraged to manage their own and their team mates behaviour. Each team receives a number of cards. Teachers take away a card from a team when disruptive behaviour is exposed. Teams are rewarded when a team has at least one card left at the end of the game. The intensity of the Good Behaviour Game is gradually changing. First, it is played for 3 times a week, each one during 10 minutes. Later, the game is expanded in time, settinga and behaviours targeted and rewards are delayed till the end of the week and month. Third, in the generalisation phase, the emphasis is on applying the game rules in general. Children receive compliments for appropriate behaviour. In this phase, game sessions are used as booster sessions. Children from the experimental classrooms (who used the Good Behavior Game) had a lower probability of onset of tobacco from age 10 to 13 years. This is in accordance with earlier studies. This effect remained significant when controlling for gender, pre-interventions levels of aggressive behavior, prenatal exposure to tobacco, and current parental smoking. The game had no effect on later alcohol use. The effectiveness of the Good Behavior Game for children with mediate levels of disruptive problems and the partial effectiveness of the GBG for those with serious problems, signifies the importance of other interventions at pre-school ages.

The PDF contains the full intervention description including additional contact information.

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Page last updated: Friday, 20 January 2012