Effectiveness of Violence Prevention Interventions: Umbrella Review of Research in the General Population.
Fazel S., Burghart M., Wolf A., Whiting D., Yu R.
To address the societal harms of violence, many violence prevention interventions have been developed, tested, and implemented in the general population. These have been reported in systematic reviews and meta-analyses, which have typically focused on one type of intervention or outcome. We aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of the current evidence regarding the effectiveness of different psychosocial interventions in reducing all forms of violence toward others. We have conducted an umbrella review of previous meta-analyses using standard approaches and converted findings on effectiveness into odds ratios. We tested for the underlying quality of the meta-analytic evidence by examining heterogeneity, excess statistical significance, prediction intervals, and small study effects. We identified 16 meta-analyses, including nine investigating psychosocial interventions, and five legislative and policy changes. Most meta-analyses reported positive effects of tested interventions. The strongest effects were found for sports-based initiatives, and the weakest for general population programs aimed at early childhood, youth development, and reducing sexual assault perpetration by men. Legislative changes had varying effectiveness. We conclude that simple, scalable, and cost-efficient programs, such as sport-based initiatives, have the clearest empirical support as population-based approaches to violence prevention.