Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Theory behind Play Nicely


Can a brief intervention interrupt the cycle of violence?

The theory behind the Play Nicely intervention

Two of the root causes of violence are ineffective parenting(1,2) and early childhood aggression(3,4), Some children, including five to 10 percent of boys(4), will resort to persistent aggression and violence as a solution to their problems. When these children become parents, they may view their child's misbehavior as yet another problem that can be solved with physical force.

A report by the World Health Organization states that parenting programs are among the most promising interventions to prevent violence(5,6). Interventions that target parenting skills may help children respond in socially acceptable ways to the many challenges and frustrations that they will meet throughout life. In theory, parenting interventions could interrupt the intergenerational cycle of violence.

Place Nicely Figure

Figure: This developmental framework, modified from work by Patterson(2), describes the intergenerational cycle that links parenting skills, childhood aggression, child maltreatment, academic failure, and violence.

  1. Reid JB, Patterson GR, Snyder J, Eds. Antisocial behavior in children and adolescents. Washington DC. American Psychological Association. 2002;195-201.
  2. Patterson GR, Debaryshe BD, Ramsey E. A developmental perspective on antisocial behavior. Am Psychol. 1989 Feb;44(2):329-35.   
  3. Tremblay RE, Boivin M, Zoccolillo M, Montplaisir J. The search for the age of ‘onset' of physical aggression: Rousseau and Bandura revisited. Crim Behav Ment Health. 1999;9:8-23. 
  4. Broidy LM, Nagin DS, Tremblay RE, et al. Developmental trajectories of childhood disruptive behaviors and adolescent delinquency: a six-site, cross-national study. Dev Psychol. 2003 Mar;39(2):222-45.
  5.  World Health Organization. The World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva. 2002. 
  6.  World Health Organization. Youth Violence Fact Sheet. Geneva. 2002.

Also, consider reading about the economics of violence prevention and conducting research on brief primary care interventions.

Last Edited: August 19, 2016
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