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Responding In Peaceful and Positive Ways

Ages 10-14

Rating: Level 1


Responding In Peaceful and Positive Ways (RIPP) is a school-based violence prevention program designed to provide students in middle and junior high schools with conflict resolution strategies and skills. RIPP targets the universal population of students enrolled in grades 6, 7, and 8 in middle and junior high school and is suitable for children from all socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. The program combines a classroom curriculum of social/cognitive problem solving with real-life skill-building opportunities such as peer mediation. Students learn to apply critical thinking skills and personal management strategies to personal health and well-being issues. RIPP teaches key concepts such as

  • The importance of significant friends or adult mentors
  • The relationship between self-image and gang-related behaviors
  • The effects of environmental influences on personal health

Using a variety of lessons and activities, students learn about the physical and mental development that occurs during adolescence, analyze the consequences of personal choices on health and well-being, learn that they have nonviolent options when conflicts arise, and evaluate the benefits of being a positive family and community role model.


Several studies have examined the effectiveness of RIPP. The first evaluated RIPP sixth graders at three urban middle schools serving predominantly African-American students. Classes were randomly assigned to an intervention (n=305) or a no-intervention control group (n=321). Self-report and school disciplinary data was collected at pretest, posttest, 6-month, and 1-year follow-up. In the second study, RIPP was evaluated in an ethnically diverse rural school using pretest, posttest, and 1-year follow-up self-report data of randomly assigned sixth grade students. Pretest data was collected from 96 students in the intervention group and 108 students in the control group. The third study evaluated RIPP sixth and seventh graders, using a between-school design in an ethnically diverse rural setting to compare outcomes over 2 years between four intervention schools (n=655) and four control schools (n=685). Self-report measures were completed pretest (the beginning of sixth grade) and at four other time points, concluding in the fall semester of eighth grade. The next study evaluated RIPP seventh graders in two public middle schools serving predominantly African-American students where the RIPP program had also been implemented in the sixth grade. Students were randomly assigned by homeroom to the intervention (n=239) or the control group (n=237). Participants were given a pretest, posttest, 6-month follow-up, and 12-month follow-up.


RIPP has demonstrated efficacy in urban schools that serve predominantly African-American youths, as well as in more ethnically diverse rural schools. In comparison with control students, at posttest, students who participated in RIPP have shown

  • Fewer disciplinary violations for violent offenses
  • Fewer in-school suspensions
  • Increased use of peer mediation programs
  • Fewer fight-related injuries
  • Greater knowledge of effective problem-solving skills

Students also reported significantly lower approval of violent behavior, more peer support for nonviolent behavior, and less peer pressure to use drugs.

In a within-school evaluation of RIPP, compared with control students, RIPP–6 students at posttest were significantly less likely to have disciplinary code violations for carrying weapons, were less likely to have in-school suspensions, had lower reported rates of fight-related injuries, and were more likely to participate in their schools’ peer-mediation programs. RIPP–7 participants showed a significant increase in their knowledge of curriculum material and a trend for greater decreases in anxiety. At 6-month follow-up, RIPP–7 students reported lower rates of peer pressure to use drugs and showed a significant increase in prosocial responses to hypothetical problem situations. In another study, compared with students at control schools, students at intervention schools reported more favorable attitudes toward nonviolence, less favorable attitudes toward violence, and greater knowledge of the material covered in the intervention. Significant differences in the frequency of aggression were found at posttest. An evaluation of RIPP–8 is currently under way.

Risk Factors


  • Anti-social behavior and alienation/Delinquent beliefs/General delinquency involvement/Drug dealing
  • Early onset of aggression and/or violence
  • Favorable attitudes toward drug use/Early onset of AOD use/Alcohol and/or drug use
  • Gun possession/Illegal gun ownership and/or carrying
  • Life stressors
  • Poor refusal skills
  • Victimization and exposure to violence


  • Broken home


  • Negative attitude toward school/Low bonding/Low school attachment/Commitment to school


  • Availability of firearms
  • Community crime/High crime neighborhood
  • Economic deprivation/Poverty/Residence in a disadvantaged neighborhood
  • Neighborhood youth in trouble


  • Association with delinquent and/or aggressive peers
  • Gang involvement/Gang membership
  • Peer alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drug use

Protective Factors


  • Healthy / Conventional beliefs and clear standards
  • High expectations
  • Positive / Resilient temperament
  • Positive expectations / Optimism for the future
  • Self-efficacy
  • Social competencies and problem-solving skills


  • High expectations of students
  • High quality schools / Clear standards and rules
  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults


  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults


  • Good relationships with peers
  • Involvement with positive peer group activities


  • SAMHSA: Model Programs
  • Department of Education


Farrell, Albert D., Aleta Lynn Meyer, Terri N. Sullivan, and Eva M. Kung. 2003. “Evaluation of the Responding In Peaceful and Positive Ways (RIPP) Seventh Grade Violence Prevention Curriculum.” Journal of Child and Family Studies 12(1):101–20.

Farrell, Albert D., Aleta Lynn Meyer, and Kamila S. White. 2001. “Evaluation of Responding In Peaceful and Positive Ways (RIPP): A School-Based Prevention Program for Reducing Violence Among Urban Adolescents.” Journal of Clinical Child Psychology 30(4):451–63.

Meyer, Aleta Lynn, Albert D. Farrell, Wendy Bauers Northup, Eva M. Kung, and Laura Plybon. 2000. Promoting Nonviolence in Early Adolescence: Responding In Peaceful and Positive Ways. New York, N.Y.: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.


Wendy Bauers Northup
Prevention Opportunities, LLC
12458 Ashland Vineyard Lane
Ashland, VA 23005
Phone: (804) 261-8547
Fax: (804) 261-8580
Web site: