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Evaluation of a program to prevent political violence in the Basque conflict: effects on the capacity of empathy, anger management and the definition of peace

Maite Garaigordobil


OBJECTIVE: To assess the effects of a program for the prevention of political violence on empathy, expression of feelings of anger, and the capacity to define peace-violence.
METHOD: This study used a quasi-experimental design with pretest-posttest repeated measures and a control group. The sample comprised 276 adolescents aged between 15 and 17 years (191 in the experimental group, 85 in the control group; 127 boys and 149 girls). A battery of three assessment instruments was administered before and after the intervention. The aim of the program was to increase sensitivity to the victims of political violence, promote respect for human rights, and prevent violence. The intervention consisted of 10 sessions over 3 months.
RESULTS: MANOVA analyses revealed that the program increased participants' capacity of empathy (perspective-taking), anger control in annoying situations, and capacity to define peace-violence.
CONCLUSIONS: This study has practical educational implications and provides an intervention tool that enhances the development of personality during adolescence and may have a preventive effect on violent behavior.