Urban Improv



Urban Improv has been proven effective.

The Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence selected Urban Improv for an evaluation as an effective violence prevention program. Starting in 2000, this independent, multi-year study was funded through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The article has now been published in the Journal of School Violence, 2006  (Volume 5, Number 2). 

The evaluation’s purpose was to assess Urban Improv’s impact on a variety of domains related to youth violence at different developmental stages. It was conducted by the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute, and was overseen by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, Trauma Center Medical Director and Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine.

Results show clear benefits for Urban Improv students. The program has been proven effective in preventing increased or new-onset of aggressive behaviors with elementary school children, while also increasing pro-social behaviors and classroom

Figure 1: Aggressive behavior
4th grade children who participated maintained behavior in class, while those who did not participate demonstrated a steady increase in aggression over the same time period.

Figure 2: Cooperative behavior
Participants demonstrated an increase in pro-social behaviors such as cooperation, assertive interactions, and self-control, while comparison student exhibited deterioration in pro-social behaviors.

Figure 3: Self-control
Participants demonstrated a decrease in inattentiveness and disengagement in the classroom, while comparison students demonstrated and increase in these behaviors.

Figure 4: Internalizing behaviors

Figure 5: Hyperactivity
(Note regarding all graphs: All vertical numbers are from the Social Skill Rating System for Teachers, Gersham & Eliot, authors. 1990)