Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Marcelo Castro

Committee Member

Jennifer Allen

Committee Member

W. A. Edmonds


afterschool program, aggressiveness, Hispano-Americans, Miami-Dade county, social and emotional learning skills, traditional martial arts


The social and emotional learning skills of children play an important role in their development. These skills include persistence, self-control, and social competence. The lack of these skills can often be a predictor of future criminality and antisocial behavior. Aggressiveness in youth plays a key role in violence among juveniles. Violent crime committed by juvenile offenders has been a longstanding issue facing the United States criminal justice system. It lacks an effective prevention method, disproportionately affects minority youth, and is often cited as a future predictor of criminality.

The purpose of this quasi-experimental, one-group, pretest–posttest design study, was twofold. First, it examined the effects of traditional martial arts training on the social and emotional learning skills of persistence, self-control and social competence of students within a structured afterschool setting. Secondly, it investigated the effects of traditional martial arts training on the ability to resolve problems with peers without becoming aggressive in these same students. The research subjects consist of 57 predominantly Hispanic students (ages 5-11) enrolled in an afterschool program at Tiger and Dragon Youth Center (T&D), throughout the 2018-19 academic school year. This program teaches the traditional martial art of Kenpo Karate.

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