A randomized controlled trial was used to evaluate the effects of a pro-social behavior after-school program called Mate-Tricks for nine and ten year old children and their parents living in an area of significant socioeconomic disadvantage. The children were randomly assigned to an intervention (n=220) or a control group (n=198). Children were compared on measures of pro-social behavior, anti-social behavior and related outcome measures. The trial found adverse effects on four outcomes among the intervention group compared to the control group: anti-social behavior increased on two different measures (d=+0.20) and (d=+0.18); child reported liberal parenting increased (d=+0.16); and child reported authoritarian parenting also increased (d=+0.20). In addition, parental participation was significantly associated with several program outcomes. It was concluded, that group based after-school behavior programs may have the potential to cause iatrogenic effects and must be designed, piloted, evaluated and implemented with a high degree of care.
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- School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work - Principal Research Fellow