Search for Programs to Help YouthSearch for Programs to Help Youth

Get Real About Violence

Ages 5-18

Rating: Level 3


Get Real About Violence (GRAV) is a research-based prevention program that addresses a wide range of violent behavior in students from kindergarten through 12th grade—from bullying and verbal aggression at early grades through fighting and social exclusion at middle grades to relationship abuse and assaults that can occur in later grades. Based on the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), the GRAV program encourages students to identify alternative attitudes and norms that would lead to a violent-free outcome. According to the TRA, the best determinant of behavior is a joint function involving behavioral intention, a person’s attitude toward performing the behavior, and subjective norms. The GRAV curriculum, therefore, uses instructional tools, activities, and scenarios designed to decrease students’ positive attitudes toward violence and to increase negative attitudes toward violent behavior, while also establishing antiviolent norms in response to verbal, physical, or emotional cues.

The GRAV curriculum consists of 12 multimedia lessons divided into three modules:

  • Vulnerability to Violence—including a) “No Big Deal,” b) “Shooting in Three Parts,” and c) “A Commitment to Nonviolence”
  • Contributors to Violence —including a) “Influences All Around,” b) “Violence Is Encouraged by People Like Us,” and c) “Guidelines for Nonviolence”
  • Alternatives to Violence —including a) “Nonviolent Acts,” b) “It’s About Us Too,” c) “The Refusal Skill,” d) “The Refusal Skill for Self-Control,” e) “The Conflict Resolution Skill,” and f) “Transfer”

Most of the lessons should be taught during a single class period, although a few were designed to take 2 periods.


The GRAV curriculum has undergone two independent evaluations. The first evaluated the program on 7th grade students, and the second was on students in the 9th through 12th grades.

The seventh grade evaluation used a pretest–posttest nonequivalent comparison group design. Two moderately sized, public junior high schools in a midwestern city were chosen as test sites, one as a treatment school (n=168) and the other as a control school (n=125). The participants for the treatment and control schools were demographically similar. All students were ages 12 to 14. Most of the participants from both schools were African-American, and roughly 50 percent of the participants were female. Seventh graders were tested before program implementation and then 6 weeks and 3 months after implementation. Participants were given a confidential questionnaire to assess four primary behaviors: watching a fight, telling friends about a fight that is going to happen, verbal aggression, and fighting.

The second evaluation, involving the 9th through 12th grade curriculum, used a posttest-only nonequivalent comparison group design. The participants all attended the same rural midwestern high school. The two groups differed in size and composition. The treatment group had 198 participants and the control group had 160 participants. Data was collected using the School Safety Survey. The dependant variables included witnessing relational aggression, witnessing physical aggression, perceptions of adult norms, perceptions of peer norms, behavioral intent as a bystander, and behavioral intent as a victim.


The evaluation for the seventh graders suggests that from pretest to the initial posttest the experimental group improved on a greater number of items and digressed on fewer items than the control group during each time period. The experimental group was significantly less likely than the control group to act verbally aggressive toward another person and was more likely to think that being verbally aggressive would cause someone else harm. Experimental group participants indicated they were less likely to watch a fight or spread rumors about a fight that was going to happen, were more likely to believe that getting into a fight would hurt their own family, and that if someone tried to start a fight with them they would try to avoid it.

The evaluation of the high school curriculum showed that the two groups did not differ in the amount of relational or physical aggression witnessed. This suggests that both groups experienced similar school environments. The treatment group was significantly more likely to view adults as reacting positively if a student was to report an aggressive act. The control group was more likely to perceive adults as making it worse for the student. There were no significant differences between the two groups on the scales measuring peer norms. Both groups reported that peers would be skeptical of going to an adult for help. Students in the treatment group were more likely to choose prosocial responses as a witness to or victim of violence; they were more likely to try to help a victim of a fight, less likely to join in a fight, and less likely to retaliate to aggression with aggression.

Risk Factors


  • Anti-social behavior and alienation/Delinquent beliefs/General delinquency involvement/Drug dealing
  • Early onset of aggression and/or violence


  • Association with delinquent and/or aggressive peers

Protective Factors


  • Healthy / Conventional beliefs and clear standards
  • Perception of social support from adults and peers
  • Positive / Resilient temperament
  • Social competencies and problem-solving skills


  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults


  • Good relationships with peers


  • SAMHSA: Model Programs


Baseline Research, LLC. 2000. Get Real About Violence: Curriculum Evaluation Final Report. Milwaukee, Wis.

Freeman, H.S., and G.A. Mims. 2006. “Targeting Bystanders: Evaluating a Violence Prevention Program for ‘Nonviolent’ Adolescents.” In Maurice J. Elias, Joseph E. Zins, and Charles A. Maher (eds.). Bullying, Victimization, and Peer Harassment: A Handbook of Prevention and Intervention. New York, N.Y.: Haworth Press.


Jim McColl, M.B.A.
United Learning
1560 Sherman Avenue, Suite 100
Evanston, IL 60201
Phone: (847) 328-6700
Fax: (847) 328-6706
Web site: