Programs that Work
Healthy and Safe Children
Children not experiencing anxiety or mood disorders, such as depression
Children experiencing good physical health
Age of Child
Middle Childhood (9-12)
Type of Setting
Out of School Time
Type of Service
Type of Outcome Addressed
Evidence Level (What does this mean?)
Go Grrrls is a program designed to promote healthy psychosocial development in female adolescents. The program has been delivered to girls in grades six through nine and is expected to occur as a series of 12 sessions held outside of traditional school hours. The 12-session curriculum covers six topics related to female adolescent development: Being a girl in today's society, Establishing a positive self-image, Establishing independence, Making and keeping friends, When it all seems like too much, and Planning for the future. Sessions are expected to last 60 minutes and occur once per week. They are made up of groups of 8-10 female adolescents, led by two female graduate psychology students or professionals with master's degrees in social work (MSWs). The sessions include didactic instruction, class discussion, group exercises, completion of worksheets, role-playing, and weekly journal assignments. The Go Grrrls program materials include a Go Grrrls curriculum guide for group leaders and a Go Grrrls workbook for use by group attendees. In addition, the program developers offer one-day trainings for group leaders on topics such as an introduction to Go Grrrls and female adolescent development, being a group leader, and advanced topics related to leading a Go Grrrls group.
Adolescent females, grades six through nine.
LeCroy (2004) evaluated the effectiveness of the Go Grrrls program in promoting healthy psychosocial development among 118 adolescent females attending a middle school in a semi-urban location in Arizona. Females were recruited through parent orientation sessions held at their school over the summer. A total of 118 female middle school students and their parents consented to participate in the study. Fifty-nine girls were randomly assigned to participate in the Go Grrrls program, and 59 were randomly assigned to serve as control study participants. The average age of the girls in the study was 13.5 years. About 62 percent of the girls were Caucasian, about 14 percent were Hispanic, about 33 percent were Native American, and less than 2 percent were African-American. About 51 percent of the girls lived in single-parent homes, and about 37 percent received free lunch at school. There were no differences in demographic variables between the control group of girls and the Go Grrrls program group before the intervention began.
The Go Grrrls program was administered to groups of 8-10 female adolescents, each led by two female co-leaders with either an MSW or graduate-level experience in psychology. Group sessions lasted for one hour and occurred weekly over a period of 12 weeks. The co-leaders were supervised weekly through separate small group meetings, lasting 30 to 60 minutes, to ensure that the curriculum was delivered similarly across groups. All girls participating in the study completed self-report questionnaires just prior to and just after the Go Grrrls program 12-week series. The questionnaires included scales designed to rate the girls' competency in areas such as self esteem, acceptance of body image, attitude toward attractiveness, self-efficacy, self-liking and self-confidence, and hopelessness. Two girls who were assigned to receive the Go Grrrls program were excluded from the study analysis: One of these girls dropped out of the program, and the other girl did not receive "enough" of the program, in the study author's estimation. Receiving 75 percent of sessions was considered sufficient exposure to the program to detect an effect, but the study author does not note a specific threshold used to include girls in the analysis.
Key Evaluation Findings
LeCroy (2004) found that, compared with girls in the control group, girls who completed the Go Grrrls program showed significantly greater improvement (at p < .05) in:
- body image — as measured by an Acceptance of Body Image Scale developed by Simmons and Blythe (1987).
- assertiveness — as measured by an Assertiveness Scale developed by Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (1993).
- attractiveness — as measured by an Attitude Toward Attractiveness Scale developed by LeCroy and Daley (1997a) that assesses healthy attitudes toward attractiveness by asking girls questions such as, "I think girls need to be skinny to be attractive." The scale was standardized so that an increase in scores indicates an increase in healthy attitudes.
- self-efficacy — as measured by a Girl's Self-Efficacy Scale developed by LeCroy and Daley (1997b).
Community organizations, including schools, with a commitment to healthy female development.
The authors received funding from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.
The program is designed as an out-of-school-time group series. Female adolescents attend group sessions of about 8-10 adolescent females, led by two adult female co-leaders. Sessions occur over 12 weeks and last one hour per week, with girls completing weekly journal assignments between sessions.
The groups are led by two adult females, with master's degrees in social work or graduate-level training in psychology.
The curriculum covers six major topics that build on each other over the course of 12 weeks. Each week, girls receive didactic instruction and engage in role-plays, exercises, group discussion, and journal assignments. The topics covered are:
- Being a girl in today's society — focuses on pressure placed on females through media and teaches positive perceptions of gender.
- Establishing a positive self-image — helps girls maintain a positive body image, establish a stable sense of self-worth, and understand that attractiveness is about more than physical appearance.
- Establishing independence — teaches problem-solving skills and focuses on mature, independent thinking.
- Making and keeping friends — encourages development of meaningful friendships and teaches girls how to use friendships for support and well-being.
- When it all seems like too much — teaches girls how to recognize when situations are too much to handle alone and how to find available resources, such as helpful peers or hotlines and crisis centers.
- Planning for the future — teaches girls to establish educational, vocational, and other goals.
Issues to Consider
Craig LeCroy, author of the LeCroy (2004) study, is one of the Go Grrrls program developers; thus, readers should be aware that the study was not conducted by an independent, third-party evaluator. In addition, many of the scales used to assess female outcomes were developed by LeCroy, and the validity of these scales has not been well established. Further, there is no mention of intervention fidelity monitoring. Also, each group of girls was supervised by two co-leaders, and these co-leaders varied from group to group. This study did not make any statistical adjustments to account for group leader effects on variability in program outcomes. Although the random assignment and pre/post-test methods used are elements of a strong research design, this program has been designated as a promising program due to the above-listed factors.
The program has been implemented in some middle schools in Arizona.
A brief description of the Go Grrrls program, training programs, resources, and the curriculum can be found at http://www.public.asu.edu/~lecroy/gogrrrls/body.htm
In addition, links to the "Go Grrrls Workbook" ($12 in 2011 dollars) and the book version of the Go Grrrls framework, which includes the step-by-step curriculum for group leaders, "Empowering Adolescent Girls" ($35 in 2011 dollars), can be found under the "Curriculum" section of this site: http://www.public.asu.edu/~lecroy/gogrrrls/curriculum.htm
Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, "Knowledge, Attitude, and Behavior Instrument (KAB)," unpublished manuscript, Washington, D.C., 1993.
Kazdin, Alan E., Antoinette Rogers, and Debra Colbus, "The Hopelessness Scale for Children: Psychometric Characteristics and Concurrent Validity," Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 54, No. 2, April 1986, pp. 241-245.
LeCroy, Craig Winston, "Experimental Evaluation of 'Go Grrrls' Preventive Intervention for Early Adolescent Girls," Journal of Primary Prevention, Vol. 25, No. 4, December 2004, pp. 457-473.
LeCroy, Craig Winston, and J. Daley, "Girls' Attitude Toward Attractiveness Scale," unpublished, 1997a.
LeCroy, Craig Winston, and J. Daley, "Girls' Self Efficacy Scale," unpublished manuscript, 1997b.
Simmons, R. G., and D. A. Blythe, Moving into Adolescence: The Impact of Pubertal Change and School Context, New York: Aldine De Gruyter, 1987.