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Does peer mediation really work? Can children resolve conflict without adults?  
What makes it work better?  
What support do peer

mediators need?

What are the pitfalls that prevent peer mediation flourishing?


The resources below explore these questions.  The evaluations and references from around the Network show the proven impact of conflict resolution by young people.  

Transforming Conflict

Research and Evaluation from Transforming Conflict

12 documents evaluating different aspects of restorative practice in schools.

David W. Johnson and Roger T. Johnson

Conflict Resolution and Peer Mediation Programs in Elementary and Secondary Schools: A Review of the Research

"programs, the current evidence indicates that (a) conflicts among students do occur frequently in schools (although the conflicts rarely result in serious injury); (b) untrained students by and large use conflict strategies that create destructive outcomes by ignoring the importance of their ongoing relationships; (c) conflict resolution and peer mediation programs do seem to be effective in teaching students integrative negotiation and mediation procedures; (d) after training, students tend to use these conflict strategies, which generally leads to constructive outcomes; and (e) students' success in resolving their conflicts constructively tends to result in reducing the numbers of student-student conflicts referred to teachers and administrators, which, in turn, tends to reduce suspensions."

Jeanne B. Stinchcomb, Gordon Bazemore, Nancy Riestenberg

Beyond Zero Tolerance Restoring Justice in Secondary School

Restoring Justice in Secondary Schools

Restorative Justice Council

Key Findings of the Bristol RAiS Evaluation

A case study from Restorative Solutions about the impact of restorative approaches in schools. 

Ziqiang Xin, Liping Chi, Guoliang Yu

The relationship between interparental conflict and adolescents affective well-being - Mediation of cognitive appraisals and moderation of peer status

This study examined the mediation effect of cognitive appraisals and the moderation role of peer status in the association between interparental conflict and adolescents’ affective well-being based on a sample of 549 Chinese adolescents from 7th to 12th grades. Interparental conflict properties, adolescents’ cognitive appraisals of conflict, affective well-being, and peer status were measured through scales and peer nomination surveys. The results of structure equation modeling showed that: cognitive appraisals totally mediated the association between marital conflict and adolescents’ affective well-being; peer status moderated the effect of marital conflict on adolescents’ positive affect but not on negative affect; and the relationship between marital conflict and positive affect showed different patterns for adolescents of different social status. Therefore, to better understand affective well-being of adolescents from high marital conflict families, their cognitive appraisals of conflict and peer relations should be taken into account.

Peacemakers, CRESST

ACT Teach citizenship Magazine

An article by Peacemakers and CRESST about the impact of peer mediation and its links to Citizenship for the Teaching Citizenship magazine from ACT.

SEN Magazine

Helping each other

Carly Hatcher explains how a peer mediation project helped mainstream and special school pupils to manage their behaviour.

Allison Ann Payne, and Kelly Welch

Restorative Justice in Schools: The Influence of Race on Restorative Discipline

This study is the first to test the racial threat perspective in relation to use of the restorative practices

student conferences, peer mediation, restitution, and community service. Using a national random sample in logistic regression analyses, we find that schools with proportionally more Black students are less likely to use such techniques when responding to student behavior.

Southwark Mediation Centre

Melanie Bruces Young Mediators

Read about the success of Southwark Mediation Centre.

Dennis S. W. Wong, Christopher H. K. Cheng, Raymond M. H. Ngan, and Stephen K. Ma

Program Effectiveness of a Restorative Whole-School Approach

With bullying in schools high on policy makers’ agendas, researchers are looking for effective strategies to tackle its disruptive effects. The present study sets out to address this issue. First, the prevalence of bullying is examined in Hong Kong High Schools, and second, the effectiveness of a Restorative Whole-school Approach (RWsA) in reducing bullying is examined in a quasi-experimental design. The RWsA emphasizes the setting up of restorative goals, clear instructions, team building, and good relationships among students, parents, and teachers. Over the course of 2 years, and across four schools, the effectiveness of this program was observed by comparing an intervention group with a partial intervention group (which did not receive the full treatment) and a control group (which received no treatment whatsoever). The group that received the RWsA treatment exhibited a significant reduction of bullying, higher empathic attitudes, and higher self-esteem in comparison to the partial intervention and the control group. 

David Johnson and Roger Johnson


The effectiveness of peer mediation was examined in an inner-city elementary school.

Mediation most commonly resulted in an agreement to avoid each other in the future (74%) followed by apologizing and forgiving each other (16%).

William S. Haft and Elaine Weiss

Peer Mediation in Schools: Expectations and Evaluations

William S. Haft and Elaine Weiss explore mediation in schools. 

Dr Edward Sellman

Peer Mediation Services for Conflict Resolution in Schools

Dr Edward Sellman explores "What transformations in school culture characterise successful implementation?" This paper focuses on peer mediation as a specific form of restorative practice in schools and presents the findings from research conducted at 9 schools (7 primary, 2 secondary) in England, which had previously implemented a mediation service as an alternative to teacher arbitration for students experiencing ‘difficult’ interpersonal conflict.

John Noaks and Lesley Noaks

School-based peer mediation as a strategy for social inclusion

This paper focuses on the impact of peer mediation as a strategy for promoting social inclusion in primary school settings. Peer mediation constituted one of the interventions in the UK Government-sponsored On Track programme and evaluative data from this project are reported. The paper reports on trends in bullying and anti-social behaviour in nine schools where peer mediation was deployed. Quantitative results from ‘My life in School’ checklists and a questionnaire measuring teacher perceptions are reported. Qualitative evidence is also reported from focus groups undertaken with pupils. The benefits of mainstreaming and further dissemination of the approach are discussed.


school wide conflict resolution and peer mediation programs

Experiences taken from three middle schools. 

Leslie Morrison, Daniel Parker, Debra Kamps and Jorge Garcia

Peer Mediation and Monitoring Strategies to Improve Initiations and Social Skills for Students with Autism

Four students with autism and a group of nondisabled peers were taught to use and monitor social skills while playing games to increase initiations and social interaction skills. 

Results indicated that adult teaching and peer mediation of skills, paired with reinforcement for skill use and student monitoring, increased initiations and social interaction time with peers during intervention, as well as use of the targeted social skills. Little difference was noted between self- and peer-monitoring strategies.

Peacemakers, CRESST

‘Diana Award’ for Maesteg’s mediators

Maesteg Comprehensive pupils who have been specially trained as ‘peer mediators’ have become the first in the borough to receive a prestigious award aimed at tackling bullying.

Peacemakers, CRESST

Behaviour - How students respond to a jury of their peers

"Training children to act as neutral mediators for classmates is a great way to defuse conflict - and it brings other benefits, too."

David W. Johnson, Roger Johnson, Bruce Dudley, Marty Ward, and Douglas Magnuson

The Impact of Peer Mediation Training on the Management of School and Home Conflicts

A peer mediation program in a midwestern, suburban school was examined to determine the types of conflicts that occurred, the strategies students used to resolve their conflicts, and the types of resolutions in both school and home settings. The impact of the peer mediation program on the strategies used to manage conflicts and the resolutions of conflicts was also examined. The training had significant impact on the strategies students used and the resulting resolutions.

Thompson and Peter. K Smith

The use and effectiveness of antibullying strategies in schools

This survey of schools from the Department of education suggested mediation was the best peer led strategy to prevent bullying. 

Mervyn Flecknoe

What does anyone know about peer mediation?

Peer mediation is a popular way to manage conflict in schools. Typically, a school trains a small group (cadre) of pupils who offer mediation services to other pupils at break and lunchtime. The article examines research published in the last 10 years and concludes that this is likely to be a disappointing approach. The author argues, from the literature, that schools are more likely to reduce bullying and low-level disruption by making the study of conflict a central part of the curriculum of the school – for parents, for teachers and for pupils.

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