Ripple Effects Whole Spectrum Intervention System (Ripple Effects)

An Effective Practice


Developed initially in 1998, Ripple Effects aims to prevent social injury and promote school and life success for children (grades 2-5) and teenagers (grades 6-10) through an interactive software. The software includes peer-narrated tutorials that address social-emotional competencies, including self-understanding, empathy, impulse control, emotion regulation, assertiveness, decision making, and connection to community. In addition, the software gives students guidance to address risk and protective factors that are specific to each student's environment and personal goals. Ripple Effects can be customized, in terms of content and process, by both the staff administering the program and the student participants. Program duration also varies and can be implemented over an entire school year as a one-semester class, or in a single 45-minute session for students with first-time behavior offenses. The program has been used in all 50 states of the United States and in several provinces in Canada.

Goal / Mission

The goal of Ripple Effects is to use technology to prevent social injury and promote school and life success for children and teenagers.

Results / Accomplishments

School achievement was assessed by two studies, one on 7th-grade students and the other on 8th-grade students, in 2008 by grade point average (GPA), days absent, tardy rates, suspensions, discipline referrals, and school enrollment rates. Both were compared to respective control groups and both showed that improvements in GPA post-intervention were significant (p<0.05). Resilience assets were measured in a third study on 6th-grade students in 2008 using three scales: autonomy (with three subscales: self-management, self-efficacy, and sense of purpose), social competence (with two subscales: empathy and connectedness), and problem solving. The study found that post-intervention improvements were significant (p<0.03) in empathy and problem-solving in the experimental group compared to the control, but that the control group had significantly greater improvement in connectedness (p=0.04). In all three studies, small sample size limited the effectiveness of the studies in their findings.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
33 New Montgomery, Suite 1210
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 227-1669
Education / Student Performance K-12
Health / Substance Abuse
Health / Mental Health & Mental Disorders
Ripple Effects Whole Spectrum Intervention System
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Date of publication
Date of implementation
USA and Canada
For more details
Target Audience
Children, Teens