PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG)

About This Program

Target Population: Children in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 6th

For children/adolescents ages: 4 – 12

Program Overview

The PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG) is a universal classroom-based preventive intervention that is designed to create a nurturing environment for all children. The intervention aims to increase on-task behavior, focused attention, and self-regulation in students while decreasing disruptive, withdrawn, and violent behavior. Unlike a curriculum, the intervention is designed to integrate seamlessly into classroom instruction by providing the teacher or after-school professional with ten research-based behavioral health strategies for use in concert with daily instruction in addition to the Good Behavior Game (for a description of the game see

Program Goals

The goals of the PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG) are:

  • Reduced disruptive and off-task behaviors
  • Reduced violent behaviors and arrests
  • Reduced trauma responses and internalizing disorders
  • Reduced lifetime substance use disorder
  • Reduced lifetime suicidality
  • Increased prosocial behaviors
  • Increased classroom participation
  • Increased peer networks
  • Increased academic outcomes
  • Increased graduation rates and college entrance

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG).

Essential Components

The essential components of PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG) include:

  • Educators (including teachers, faculty, and administrative support are taught strategies to:
    • Reduce transition and student response time.
    • Increase task completion time.
    • Improve classroom participation and sense of fairness.
    • Regulate individual and group behavior and student focus during instruction.
    • Increase prosocial behaviors.
    • Improve group cohesion and peer networks.
    • Create predictive expectations with students.
    • Increase student self-, co-, and group-regulation.
    • Increase independent measures of math and reading competencies.
    • Reduce the need for additional interventions for Tier 2 and Tier 3 strategies.
    • Increase family engagement.
    • Improve teacher well-being.

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Disruptive behaviors, withdrawn behaviors, off-task behaviors, various symptoms of trauma

Recommended Intensity:

Educators are expected to implement strategies throughout the school day.

Recommended Duration:

Educators can implement the intervention with their students throughout the year for the duration of their careers with technical assistance and ongoing professional development.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Other
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)


This program does not include a homework component.


PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG) has materials available in languages other than English:

Estonian, French, Russian, Swedish

For information on which materials are available in these languages, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

When faculty, staff, and administration have been trained in the PAX GBG, they are provided with all the materials necessary to implement. There are a small number consumables that may be obtained from PAXIS Institute as necessary.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Full-time or part-time employees who work with children in school and after-school settings can implement or support PAX GBG.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Program Manual(s)

  • Embry, D. D., Fruth, J. D., Roepcke, E. F., & Richardson, C. (2016). PAX Good Behavior Game (4th Ed.). PAXIS Institute.

Manuals are included in the “kit” provided to each participant as a part of Initial Teacher Training.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Initial training is provided onsite by a certified PAX Trainer.

Number of days/hours:

Initial training is available onsite in one or two-day in-person trainings. Additional web training options available as well.

Implementation Information

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG) as listed below:

PAXIS Institute provides a readiness assessment for schools and communities to identify resources available to initiate, support, and expand their PAX GBG implementation. For more information, contact

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG) as listed below:

  • Sites may also engage in professional development in the form of technical assistance, online webinars, or in-person booster trainings for the expansion of tiered intervention, trauma-informed care, and other implementation strategies.
  • Sites may also elect to have an internal or external member trained as a “PAX Partner” to provide ongoing implementation support, data collection, and trouble-shooting.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG) as listed below:

The PAX GBG includes a fidelity rubric and implementation survey that is used to assess implementation fidelity for each classroom. These can be used as an internal reference for teachers or as a part of ongoing support by a “PAX Partner” who supports classroom implementation in schools.

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are implementation guides or manuals for PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG) as listed below:

The PAX Good Behavior Game Manual(4th Ed.) is included in the “PAX Kit” and part of the initial teacher training.

The PAX Partner coaching/mentoring manual (1st edition) is also available for persons trained as PAX Partners (mentors).

Implementation Cost

The program representative did not provide information regarding studies of the costs of implementing PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG).

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG).

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

Smith, E. P., Osgood, D. W., Oh, Y., & Caldwell, L. C. (2018). Promoting afterschool quality and positive youth development: Cluster randomized trial of the PAX Good Behavior Game. Prevention Science, 19(2), 159–173.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 811


  • Age — 5–12 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 48.2% White, 28.7% African American, 16.4% Other, and 6.7% Hispanic/Latino/a
  • Gender — 50.1% Female and 49.9% Male
  • Status — Participants were youth in afterschool programs.

Location/Institution: 76 afterschool programs

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
The purpose of this study was to examine the PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG), among 76 afterschool programs, serving youth who were diverse in race-ethnicity, socio-economic status, and geographic locale. Demographically matched pairs of afterschool programs were randomized to PAX GBG or treatment-as-usual. Measures utilized include the Caregiver Interaction Scale (CIS), the Promising Practices Rating Scale (PPRS), the Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA), the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and the Problem Behaviors and Substance Use (PBSU). Results indicate the that experimental programs evidencing higher implementation fidelity demonstrated better program quality than controls, (i.e., less harshness, increased appropriate structure, support, and engagement), as well as reduced child-reported hyperactivity and intent-to-treat effects on prosocial behavior. Limitations include that the study did not detect effects upon youth emotional symptoms (e.g., worry and anxiety), conduct problems (e.g., lying, aggression), or problem behaviors (e.g., theft, vandalism, and experimentation with substances), the sample was more limited in terms of representing Latino youth, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Streimann, K., Selart, A., & Trummal, A. (2020). Effectiveness of a universal, classroom-based preventive intervention (PAX GBG) in Estonia: A cluster-randomized controlled trial. Prevention Science, 21(2), 234–244.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 42 schools (708 students)


  • Age — 7–8 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 50.1% Female and 49.9% Male
  • Status — Participants were first grade students.

Location/Institution: Estonia

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG) on students’ mental health and behavior 7 and 19 months post-baseline. Each school from a pair was randomized into either an intervention or control group. Measures utilized include the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), the Swanson, Nolan, and Pelham – IV Questionnaire (SNAP-IV), the Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES), and the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS). Results indicate the intervention had positive effects on children’s mental health at the end of the first academic year, which lasted and strengthened during the second academic year. Moderation analysis demonstrated positive effects on mental health and prosocial behavior for high-risk students during the first year. A few positive effects extended to the home environment during the second academic year. Implementation fidelity was satisfactory. The intervention also had a positive lasting effect on teacher’s self-efficacy and overall classroom behavior. Limitations include that the study was conducted as a matched-cluster randomized trial based on the implementation-related goals, that the trial had a relatively small number of clusters involved, students in the intervention schools had significantly more mental health difficulties at baseline, and matching was based on a variable that turned out to be not perfectly valid.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Additional References

Becker, K. D., Bradshaw, C. P., Domitrovich, C., & Ialongo, N. S. (2013). Coaching teachers to improve implementation of the Good Behavior Game. Administration and Policy in Mental Health, 40(6), 482–493.

Embry, D. D. (2011). Behavioral vaccines and evidence-based kernels: Nonpharmaceutical approaches for the prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 34(1), 1–34.

Kellam, S. G., Mackenzie, A. C., Brown, C. H., Poduska, J. M., Wang, W., Petras, H., & Wilcox, H. C. (2011). The Good Behavior Game and the future of prevention and treatment. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 6(1), 73–84.

Contact Information

Dennis Embry, PhD
Title: President/Senior Scientist
Agency/Affiliation: PAXIS Institute
Phone: (520) 299-6770

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2020

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: July 2021

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: March 2021