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Social-Emotional Competence: An Essential Factor for Promoting Positive Adjustment and Reducing Risk in School Children


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Social-emotional competence is a critical factor to target with universal preventive interventions that are conducted in schools because the construct (a) associates with social, behavioral, and academic outcomes that are important for healthy development; (b) predicts important life outcomes in adulthood; (c) can be improved with feasible and cost-effective interventions; and (d) plays a critical role in the behavior change process. This article reviews this research and what is known about effective intervention approaches. Based on that, an intervention model is proposed for how schools should enhance the social and emotional learning of students in order to promote resilience. Suggestions are also offered for how to support implementation of this intervention model at scale.
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This article is part of a special section entitled Developmental Research and Trans-
lational Science: Evidence-based Interventions for At-risk Youth and Families,
edited by Suniya S. Luthar and Nancy Eisenberg.
Social-Emotional Competence: An Essential Factor for Promoting Positive
Adjustment and Reducing Risk in School Children
Celene E. Domitrovich
Georgetown University and The Pennsylvania State Univer-
sity and Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional
Learning (CASEL)
Joseph A. Durlak
Loyola University
Katharine C. Staley
The Pennsylvania State University
Roger P. Weissberg
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
(CASEL) and University of Illinois at Chicago
Social-emotional competence is a critical factor to target with universal preventive interventions that are con-
ducted in schools because the construct (a) associates with social, behavioral, and academic outcomes that are
important for healthy development; (b) predicts important life outcomes in adulthood; (c) can be improved
with feasible and cost-effective interventions; and (d) plays a critical role in the behavior change process. This
article reviews this research and what is known about effective intervention approaches. Based on that, an
intervention model is proposed for how schools should enhance the social and emotional learning of students
in order to promote resilience. Suggestions are also offered for how to support implementation of this inter-
vention model at scale.
This special issue of Child Development focuses on
research that informs the development of interven-
tions that maximize the well-being of at-risk chil-
dren. Authors identify and justify what they believe
are the most important variables to concentrate on
to reduce risk and increase protection for youth.
We have chosen social-emotional competence, a
multidimensional construct that is critical to success
in school and life for all children, including those at
risk due to economic disadvantage, minority status,
and early emotional or behavioral problems.
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the pro-
cess through which social-emotional competence
develops. Through SEL, children and youth acquire
and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and
skills necessary to understand and manage emo-
tions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show
empathy for others, establish and maintain positive
relationships, and make responsible decisions
(Weissberg, Durlak, Domitrovich, & Gullotta, 2015).
The knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are needed
to demonstrate social-emotional competence require
integration across affective, cognitive, and behav-
ioral systems (Beauchamp & Anderson, 2010;
Greenberg et al., 2003). It can be helpful to frame
the broad construct of social-emotional competence
into two domains, that of intrapersonal and interper-
sonal competencies; this serves to better organize the
This article is supported by grants from the Einhorn Family
Charitable Trust, 1440 Foundation, and NoVo Foundation
awarded to Roger P. Weissberg. Celene E. Domitrovich is an
author of the PATHS Curriculum and has a royalty agreement
with Channing-Bete, Inc., which is reviewed and managed by
Penn States Individual Conict of Interest Committee.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to
Celene E. Domitrovich, Center for Child and Human Develop-
ment, Georgetown University, 3303 Whitehaven Street NW, Suite
3300, Washington, DC 20007. Electronic mail may be sent to
©2017 The Authors
Child Development ©2017 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
All rights reserved. 0009-3920/2017/xxxx-xxxx
DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12739
Child Development, xxxx 2017, Volume 00, Number 0, Pages 19
multitude of terms and denitions that align with SEL
(Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional
Learning, 2013, 2015; Pellegrino & Hilton, 2012). As
such, intrapersonal skills (e.g., realistic goal setting,
positive mindsets, self-control, emotion regulation,
and coping strategies) are those that are needed for
globally effective functioning as an individual,
whereas interpersonal skills (e.g., listening, communi-
cation, perspective taking, negotiation, and social
problem solving) are those that are needed to interact
successfully with others. In this article, we review the
research and the outcomes illustrating effective SEL
interventions using this organizing lens.
Individuals who thrive developmentally despite
being exposed to high levels of risk are referred to as
manifesting or demonstrating resilience (Luthar, Cic-
chetti, & Becker, 2000). We focus on social-emotional
competence because of the empirical evidence that it
is an individual characteristic that is critical for
healthy development and for counteracting the nega-
tive effects of exposure to risk. The review of the
research evidence justifying our selection is organized
into three levels. The rst is longitudinal research
demonstrating that social-emotional competence is a
promotive factor associated with success in key devel-
opmental tasks over time, and that decits in this area
of functioning are associated with poor outcomes
over time. There is also evidence that social-emotional
competence is a protective factor moderating the rela-
tionship between a number of individual risk factors
and developmentally signicant outcomes.
The second level of evidence comes from research
on interventions designed to promote social-emo-
tional competence. These studies document the mal-
leability of the construct, that positive effects from
interventions endure over time, and that these inter-
ventions are feasible and can be very cost-effective.
The third level of evidence comes from studies of
interventions designed to promote student adjust-
ment that show how social-emotional competence
mediates the relationship between identied risk fac-
tors and developmentally signicant outcomes. After
summarizing the evidence, our review will describe
common intervention approaches used by programs
that target the development of social-emotional com-
petence and meta-analytic research regarding the rel-
ative effectiveness of different approaches. The article
ends with a description of an intervention strategy
and recommendations for implementing at scale.
We limit our review to universal interventions
delivered in schools because, as prevention scien-
tists, we are dedicated to intervening before the
effects of risk exposure are evident in childrens
functioning. Prevention is grounded in a public
health approach to addressing the needs of vulnera-
ble populations and, by denition, involves the
combination of universal, selected, and indicated
intervention approaches (OConnell, Boat, & War-
ner, 2009). As the rst level of intervention in edu-
cational systems, universal interventions that
promote social-emotional competence can raise the
overall level of adjustment for all schoolchildren
and provide guidance for more intensive services
for those in need of further assistance (Greenberg,
Domitrovich, Weissberg, & Durlak, in press).
Universal interventions are likely to be of much
greater overall public health benet than interven-
tions that only target those with current problems
(Greenberg et al., in press). This is because epidemi-
ological research on several types of negative out-
comes indicates that the general total population
will eventually develop more instances of various
problems than a subpopulation of that total which
is currently having some difculties. It is a matter
of population size and the probabilities of later dys-
function. For example, consider the current popula-
tion of 50.1 million schoolchildren in the United
States (Population A) of which approximately 20%
(10 million, Population B) currently manifest some
adjustment problems of at least a fairly serious
degree. Suppose that 30% of Population B continues
to have problems over time, but only 10% of Popu-
lation A develops problems later in life (which are
reasonable projections). Based on these projections,
Population A will eventually contain 2 million more
individuals with later adjustment problems than
Population B (5 vs. 3 million). Even if universal
intervention was successful in preventing later
problems for a modest percentage of youth, it
would still have a major public health impact.
Of course, those who are already manifesting
problems require attention, but our argument to
focus on universal school-based programs is in the
spirit of this special issue, that is, the improvement of
the overall level of health in our society. This is possi-
ble through interventions that enhance social-emo-
tional competence. We show that these interventions
are helpful for groups of schoolchildren who are at
risk due to their geographic or demographic charac-
teristics (i.e., members of a minority group or those
of lower socioeconomic status) or their behavior (i.e.,
temperament or level of disruptive behavior).
Level 1: Longitudinal Research
There is growing interest in the role that social-
emotional competence has on students both while
2 Domitrovich, Durlak, Staley, and Weissberg
they are in school and when they are adults (Far-
rington et al., 2012; Pellegrino & Hilton, 2012).
There is considerable evidence indicating that both
intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies
enhance the ability of youth to behave appropri-
ately, avoid risk behaviors, develop healthy rela-
tionships with adults and peers, and achieve
academic success (Epstein, Grifn, & Botvin, 2000;
Trentacosta & Fine, 2010). This is especially true for
children who are vulnerable due to higher levels of
behavioral dysregulation or exposure to the numer-
ous risk factors associated with poverty (Elias &
Haynes, 2008; Valiente et al., 2011). Longitudinal
studies document that social-emotional decits are
predictive of problem behaviors including aggres-
sion, delinquency, and substance use (Arsenio,
Adams, & Gold, 2009; Cook, Williams, Guerra,
Kim, & Sadek, 2010; Moftt et al., 2011; Trentacosta
& Fine, 2010).
Educational, psychological, and econometric
research suggests that social-emotional competence
is fundamental to increasing studentspostsec-
ondary performance and completion, to enhancing
workplace success, and for adult life outcomes
including rates of incarceration, marital status, and
levels of depression (Heckman, Stixrud, & Urzua,
2006; Moftt et al., 2011). In a recent analysis of
outcomes in a longitudinal study of racially diverse,
low-income students living in both rural and urban
communities in four states, teacher ratings of stu-
dentsinterpersonal competence made in kinder-
garten were examined in relation to adult outcomes
in multiple domains assessed 1319 years later
(Jones, Greenberg, & Crowley, 2015). After account-
ing for a number of individual and school-level
covariates, higher levels of competence were inver-
sely related to receiving public assistance, being
involved in criminal activity, and substance use
(Jones et al., 2015). Students rated by teachers as
more competent in kindergarten were more likely
to have stable employment at age 25.
Level 2: School-Based Intervention Research
Space does not allow us to review results for
all interventions. Table 1 summarizes the ndings
from ve representative meta-analyses of
school-based interventions targeting different com-
binations of social-emotional competencies. There is
some overlap in the studies, but collectively, these
reviews cover over 300 published and unpublished
studies involving over 300,000 students. For the
sake of comparison, the mean effect obtained on
measures of aggression and disruptive behavior is
presented as well as the ndings for several poten-
tial moderators of that outcome were examined in
these reviews.
The ndings are fairly consistent with respect to
the mean posttest effect size (ranging from .21 to
.26). Of note, the Taylor, Oberle, Durlak, and Weiss-
berg (in press) meta-analysis of 82 SEL studies
found that signicant positive effects on disruptive
behaviors were obtained at a mean follow-up per-
iod of 2 years, indicating the durability of effects
over time. Moreover, the strongest predictor of fol-
low-up effects was the mean effect at posttest
reecting the level of studentssocial-emotional
competence. In other words, students with higher
levels of social-emotional competence at the end of
intervention fared the best over the longer term.
In addition to the ndings for aggressive and
disruptive behaviors noted in Table 1, meta-ana-
lyses of school-based social competence interven-
tions have also reported signicant positive effects
at posttest for other outcomes that are important
for healthy development including academic perfor-
mance, positive social behaviors, drug use, and
Table 1
Major Findings From Meta-Analyses of Universal School-Based Programs Using the Promotion of Social-Emotional Competence To Promote Posi-
tive Adjustment and Reduce Risk
Moderating variables Outcome
Gender Ethnicity SES Age Risk Location Problem behavior
Barnes et al. (2014) No .23
Durlak et al. (2011) No No No .22
Garrard and Lipsey (2007) No No Older>No .26
Taylor et al. (in press) No No .14
Wilson and Lipsey (2007) No No Lower>.21
Note. Blank cell means that variable was not analyzed as a potential moderator; No indicates the variable did not emerge as a signi-
cant moderator. Older> means students aged 1417 did better than those 59or1013. Lower> means children at low SES level did
better than their middle SES peers. Location in Durlak et al. (2011) referred to urban, suburban, or rural schools.
Process of Social and Emotional Learning 3
emotional distress (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki,
Taylor, & Schellinger, 2011; January, Casey, & Paul-
son, 2011; Korpershoek, Harms, de Boer, van Kuijk,
& Doolaard, 2016; Sklad, Diekstra, Ritter, Ben, &
Gravesteijn, 2012).
Of interest is whether interventions are more
effective for some participants than others. Overall,
the data in Table 1 reect that intervention effects
were comparable for students of different ethnicities
(examined in all ve reviews) and for both genders
(assessed in three of the ve). In other cases, stu-
dentssocioeconomic status either did not make a
difference (Durlak et al., 2011) or favored those
from a lower as compared to a middle economic
class (Wilson & Lipsey, 2007). Initially, age emerged
as a moderator in four of the ve reviews but only
remained signicant in one after the relative inu-
ence of other variables was assessed (Garrard &
Lipsey, 2007). School location, in urban, suburban,
or rural settings, was examined in one study but
was not a signicant factor (Durlak et al., 2011).
Only one review examined behavioral risk levels
coded as the combination of initial problems and
attendance at an inner city school but did not nd
it to be a moderating factor (Garrard & Lipsey,
2007). In general, the results from Table 1 suggest
that school-based social-emotional competence
interventions are suitable and effective for all stu-
dents, and in some cases, these interventions were
more favorable for students from low-income fami-
lies (Durlak et al., 2011).
Level 3: Research Examining Intervention
One way to conrm the importance of social-emo-
tional competence is to demonstrate that it plays an
important role in the behavior change process. This
can be achieved empirically with mediation analyses
conducted in the context of intervention studies or
with meta-analysis by coding program approaches
or characteristics and testing for differential effects.
Intervention studies that examine mediation are lim-
ited, but one review identied nine studies con-
ducted in school-based elementary settings in which
variables responsible for the positive effects on overt
aggression were identied (Dymnicki, Weissberg, &
Henry, 2011). In seven of these nine studies, social-
emotional competencies were a key change mecha-
nism. These included the acquisition of attitudes
favoring prosocial over aggressive solutions to prob-
lems, and skills related to social problem solving,
conict resolution, and interpersonal relationships.
A 4-year longitudinal study that took place in
the context of an intervention trial tested the effect
of a combined (i.e., instructional and environmen-
tal) approach to promoting social and emotional
competence and demonstrated with mediation anal-
yses that reductions in violent behavior were a
function of studentsimprovements in competence
(Ngwe, Liu, Flay, Segawa, & the Aban Aya Co-Inves-
tigators, 2004). The study took place in 12 Chicago
schools with a sample of 571 African American male
students who were randomly assigned either to the
intervention or to receive a curriculum that focused
on health-enhancing behaviors from fth through
eighth grades. The competence dimensions that
mediated the intervention effects were behavioral
intentions, attitudes toward aggression, and percep-
tions of peer norms for aggression (Ngwe et al.,
School-Based Intervention Approaches
Interventions vary in their approaches to promoting
studentssocial and emotional competence, and
while some use an eclectic mix of strategies, most
interventions either foster student social and behav-
ioral adjustment directly by teaching student com-
petencies (i.e., social skills training) or indirectly by
creating a positive learning environment that fosters
the development of social-emotional competence
(Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional
Learning, 2013, 2015). Programs that include expli-
cit instruction typically include a sequence of les-
sons offered to the entire class, and focus on the
development of one or more competencies. Lesson
plans usually consist of explanation of the target
skills, a live or videotaped demonstration of their
execution, opportunities for students to practice the
skills through role playing or other exercises, and
then feedback and support to encourage skill mas-
tery. These lessons either stand alone or are inte-
grated with academic instruction (Collaborative for
Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, 2013,
Programs that are designed to create a positive
learning environment typically use classroom or
schoolwide strategies to enhance one of several
indicators of school climate such as (a) the quality
of relationships and support among teachers, stu-
dents, and staff; (b) school safety; and (c) norms
related to respect, diversity, or positive civic values
(Thapa, Cohen, Guffey, & Higgins-DAlessandro,
2013). One of the most common environmental
strategies at the classroom level is to train teachers
4 Domitrovich, Durlak, Staley, and Weissberg
in developmentally appropriate instructional tech-
niques (e.g., cooperative learning), classroom man-
agement, and emotionally supportive teaching
practices (Dusenbury, Calin, Domitrovich, & Weiss-
berg, 2015). School-level strategies take several forms
and may include changing school structures to foster
a sense of community (e.g., smaller class sizes, cre-
ation of special advisories, and organizing special
assemblies), establishing policies (e.g., restorative
discipline) that increase the use of effective teaching
practices by adults, or creating natural opportunities
for students to learn and practice specic social-emo-
tional skills (Dusenbury, Newman, et al., 2015).
Several meta-analyses have attempted to evalu-
ate the advantages of different program approaches
by including these features in their coding systems.
Using this method, there appears to be little evi-
dence that one approach is superior to another. In a
meta-analysis by Garrard and Lipsey (2007), conict
education programs were coded according to the
method by which they helped students learn to
manage interpersonal conicts. These included
direct instruction, peer mediation, and embedding
concepts and strategies into the academic curricu-
lum. There were no signicant differences in effect
sizes by program focus. Similarly, in their meta-
analysis of school-based psychosocial interventions,
Wilson and Lipsey (2007) classied programs
according to whether they used an anger manage-
ment, social problem solving, or social skills train-
ing reecting a behavioral, cognitive, or
interpersonal approach. Effects were similar across
these different treatment modalities.
Korpershoek et al. (2016) used meta-analysis to
assess the relative inuence of major components
present in school-based interventions on different
categories of student outcomes. These authors
examined four components consisting of (a)
attempts to improve teachersclassroom manage-
ment strategies, (b) efforts at improving the quality
of teacherstudent relationships, (c) efforts to
change student behaviors through positive or nega-
tive contingencies, and nally, (d) approaches that
explicitly focused on enhancing studentssocial and
emotional development. Analyses suggested that
the presence of these components was associated
with small but signicant and comparable improve-
ment (mean effect using Hedgesg) in students
behavior (from .21 to .25) and academic performance
(from .17 to .24). However, a focus on studentssocial
and emotional development was the only component
associated with a signicant improvement (.14) in
studentsacademic motivation, and their commit-
ment to and engagement with school.
One meta-analysis categorized interventions in
terms of whether or not they followed four general
practices represented by the acronym, SAFE. These
practices included whether or not the intervention
was: (a) Sequenceda connected and coordinated set of
activities to foster skill development, (b) Activeactive
forms of learning to help students master new skills,
(c) Focusedspecic sections of the intervention
devoted to developing personal and social skills, and
(d) Explicitskills targeted in the program were clearly
identied so students knew what was expected
of them (Durlak et al., 2011). Programs containing
all four of these practices were associated with signi-
cant improvement in studentsprosocial behavior
(e.g., cooperation, helping others), whereas programs
lacking all four features were not effective in this
regard (Hedges gvalues of .24 vs. .02, respectively).
In a meta-analysis of 28 studies of school-based
interventions with elementary-aged students
designed to promote social-emotional competence,
studies were coded as to whether programs used
active (e.g., role play) or passive (e.g., lecture) inter-
vention methods and demonstrated that this was
an important distinction that moderated effects
(January et al., 2011). Programs that used passive
approaches had an overall effect of .12, whereas
those that used active approaches had an overall
effect of .37. This nding is consistent with the ac-
tivecomponent of the SAFE framework.
A Proposed Strategy to Promote Student Social-
Emotional Competence
Authors in this special issue were asked to propose
an intervention strategy based on the factors and
mechanisms they identify as critical to promoting
wellness for at-risk students. Based on the research
reviewed here and what meta-analyses suggest are
the benets of interventions that include an explicit
and active (i.e., SAFE) approach to instruction in
social and emotional skills for younger children, we
advocate for the use of these programs in all grades
from preschool through elementary school (Durlak
et al., 2011; January et al., 2011). There are a num-
ber of programs listed on national registries that
are considered proveneffective with unique pro-
gramming that can be delivered across multiple
years at these developmental levels.
Additional research is needed on the specic
knowledge, skills, and behaviors that should be
absolute priorities for programs to cover in order to
produce a full range of positive outcomes. Compo-
nent analyses of interventions are almost nonexistent
Process of Social and Emotional Learning 5
so for now the most rigorous empirical information
regarding program content is what was coded in
meta-analyses. Until more detailed coding of subdo-
mains of competence (e.g., self-management vs. social
awareness) is conducted, we suggest that schools use
programs that provide coordinated coverage of both
the intrapersonal and interpersonal domains (Collab-
orative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning,
2013, 2015; Greenberg et al., 2003).
There is support from meta-analytic studies to
show that universal interventions focused on pro-
moting social-emotional competence are equally
effective at middle and high school (Durlak et al.,
2011); however, there are also examples of interven-
tions producing unintended negative outcomes (Mul-
tisite Violence Prevention Project, 2009). During
adolescence when students are more susceptible to
the inuence of peers, the intervention delivery struc-
ture is extremely important, and small group formats
may make low-risk students vulnerable to deviance
training (Dodge, Lansford, & Dishion, 2006).
Many universal interventions at this develop-
mental level are designed to be risk reduction
programs that target specic outcomes like violence
or substance use. In these programs, interpersonal
competence often includes resistance skillswhich
help students avoid peer pressure to engage in
risky behavior and its inclusion is important for
program effectiveness (Tobler et al., 2000). One
study used structural equation modeling to exam-
ine how general aspects of social-emotional compe-
tence (decision making and self-efcacy) and
resistance skills related to substance use for inner-
city adolescents (Epstein et al., 2000). They found
that general competence predicted effective use of
refusal skills suggesting that it may be important to
target a broader array of skills in preventive inter-
ventions that target substance use.
When proposing a school-based intervention
strategy to promote wellness for students in middle
and high school, it is important to consider the lit-
erature on school climate because ratings of this
construct are associated with academic functioning,
mental health, and substance use at these develop-
mental levels (Thapa et al., 2013). Perceptions of
school climate evolve out of repeated social interac-
tions and experiences that take place within relation-
ships, physical spaces, and organizational structures.
When these perceptions are positive, they can serve
as a protective factor moderating how studentsde-
cits in social-emotional competence are associated
with poor outcomes. In one longitudinal study of an
ethnically and socioeconomically diverse group of
middle school students with decits in intrapersonal
competence (i.e., low self-efcacy and high levels of
self-criticism), studentsperceptions of a positive
school climate reduced the negative effects these
characteristics had on their levels of internalizing
and externalizing symptoms (Kuperminc, Lead-
beater, & Blatt, 2001). These ndings suggest inter-
ventions that combine skills instruction and
strategies to improve school climate may be more
effective. While there are successful examples of this
at the elementary level, more research is needed to
determine how best to create effective models at the
secondary level (Flay, 2000). Research suggests that
denitions of competence, mechanisms of behavior
change, and the outcomes that are relevant to target
may vary by contexts (e.g., afuent vs. disadvan-
taged communities; Luthar & Barkin, 2012).
Taking Interventions to Scale
There are two important factors that favor the
wider use and implementation of universal social-
emotional competence interventions. First, is that
meta-analyses have indicated that these programs
achieve similar (Barnes, Smith, & Miller, 2014) or
better (Durlak et al., 2011) outcomes when they are
conducted by school faculty and staff compared to
those from outside the school system. This indicates
that such programs can be integrated into routine
educational practice. Second, an economic review of
seven SEL programs that have been replicated in
multiple settings found they produced an average
return of $11 for every dollar expended (Beleld
et al., 2015). This indicates that some school-based
interventions are very cost-effective. Nevertheless,
there are major challenges to overcome in attempts
to take successful programs to scale. We cannot dis-
cuss all the issues, but the single most important
factor in scaling up is clear: High-quality program
implementation is essential for maximizing the
effects of evidence-based interventions (Barnes et al.,
2014; Durlak et al., 2011; Wilson & Lipsey, 2007).
High-quality implementation requires that
schools secure professional development services
from program developers who have expertise in the
chosen program. Indeed, one feature of a high-qual-
ity program is that it offers these services, which
typically involve both preprogram training and
ongoing technical assistance via consultation or
coaching strategies. Therefore, schools must commit
the necessary nancial resources and time to
increase the likelihood of effective implementation
that, in turn, will enhance the probability of pro-
gram success. Unfortunately, some schools do not
6 Domitrovich, Durlak, Staley, and Weissberg
have the necessary resources available to conduct,
adopt, and sustain evidence-based programs.
There is a growing eld of scientic study
devoted to better understanding the implementa-
tion process in order to support dissemination. Sev-
eral sources discuss the multiple factors that can
serve to either impede or enhance the chances of
achieving high-quality implementation when pro-
grams are conducted in new settings (Domitrovich
et al., 2008; Durlak, 2016; Fixsen, Naoom, Blas
Friedman, & Wallace, 2005). This research is being
incorporated into technical assistance systems that
are used in community settings (Mihalic, Irwin,
Fagan, Ballard, & Elliott, 2004; Wandersman et al.,
2008). There are also organizations working to sup-
port districts that are interested in introducing and
integrating a focus on SEL throughout the educa-
tional system (Collaborative for Academic, Social,
and Emotional Learning, 2016). An independent
evaluation of a large-scale demonstration project
with eight large urban school districts suggests that
this work is feasible, and preliminary results sug-
gest that higher levels of implementation are associ-
ated with improvements in student outcomes
(Kendziora & Osher, 2016).
Given the amount of time that children spend in
schools, this setting is an important location for pre-
vention efforts designed to promote the wellness of
at-risk students. In this article, we argue that uni-
versal interventions that promote studentssocial
and emotional competence should be implemented
in preK-12 as part of a public health strategy. There
are a number of evidence-based SEL programs that
could be used immediately and are identied in
registries, but additional research is needed to dis-
cern the active ingredients of these interventions so
that they can be streamlined and tailored to the
needs of different schools and communities. Addi-
tional research is also needed to determine how
individual and contextual factors interact in school
settings to facilitate or impede the behavior change
process for different groups of students. Finally, it
is imperative that policymakers support state and
federal policies that promote universal SEL pro-
grams as part of standard educational practice so
that schools have the resources they need to be able
to adopt and sustain these interventions (Dusen-
bury, Newman, et al., 2015; Zaslow, Mackintosh,
Mancoll, & Mandell, 2015). Doing so will be a good
economic investment (Beleld et al., 2015) as well
as a sound investment in the future by producing
young people who are knowledgeable, responsible,
caring, and contributing citizens.
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mation processing, moral reasoning, and emotion attri-
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Barnes, T. N., Smith, S. W., & Miller, M. D. (2014).
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... A través de las intervenciones anteriormente mencionadas, se puede favorecer la apropiación de conocimientos, desarrollo de habilidades y actitudes que reflejen estos aprendizajes por parte de los/as niños, adolescentes y adultos, promoviendo la coordinación entre la cognición, el comportamiento y el afecto para enfrentar los diferentes desafíos que se presentan a lo largo de la vida, logrando mayor éxito en los distintos ámbitos en que se desenvuelven las personas (CASEL, 2020;Domitrovich et al., 2017;Durlak et al., 2011;Schonert-Reichl, 2019). Entonces, desarrollando las competencias socioemocionales propuestas por CASEL, las personas podrían mejorar sus interacciones con los demás tanto para iniciar, establecer y mantener relaciones interpersonales adecuadas, regulando y expresando sus emociones de manera apropiada, entre otros beneficios que conlleva el desarrollo de diferentes competencias a nivel intrapersonal e interpersonal (CASEL, 2020;Weissberg et al., 2015), considerando que estas competencias son susceptibles de ser enseñadas y modeladas a diferentes edades (Osher & Berg, 2017;Schonert-Reichl, 2019). ...
... Entonces, desarrollando las competencias socioemocionales propuestas por CASEL, las personas podrían mejorar sus interacciones con los demás tanto para iniciar, establecer y mantener relaciones interpersonales adecuadas, regulando y expresando sus emociones de manera apropiada, entre otros beneficios que conlleva el desarrollo de diferentes competencias a nivel intrapersonal e interpersonal (CASEL, 2020;Weissberg et al., 2015), considerando que estas competencias son susceptibles de ser enseñadas y modeladas a diferentes edades (Osher & Berg, 2017;Schonert-Reichl, 2019). Lo anterior, no solo es significativo a nivel individual, sino más bien es una contribución a la sociedad ya que favorecería la adecuada convivencia y facilitaría la cooperación, teniendo como base los estándares éticos y normas sociales (Borowski, 2019;Domitrovich et al., 2017). ...
... Se observa el mayor desarrollo de las habilidades de comunicación, toma de decisiones, resolución de problemas y regulación emocional propiciando la conexión social y la conformación de relaciones adecuadas (Green et al., 2021;Stuhr et al., 2017). Asimismo, los/as estudiantes informan que mejora el clima escolar, el aprendizaje y los resultados académicos (DePaoli et al., 2018;Fisher & Frey, 2019;Gálvez-Nieto et al., 2022). Por consiguiente, el SEC-Q ha sido desarrollado y validado en población Revista Iberoamericana de Diagnóstico y Evaluacióne Avaliação Psicológica. ...
... During the last two decades, schools, families, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers have acknowledged the importance of promoting social and emotional skills in school contexts to foster children's cognitive development, mental health, and well-being (Denham et al., 2009;Durlak et al., 2011;Elias et al., 2019;OECD, 2021a,b). These social-emotional competencies in early childhood have been found to be predictive of better academic achievements (Durlak et al., 2011;Domitrovich et al., 2017;Corcoran et al., 2018) and long-term life success (Clarke et al., 2015). ...
... These results seem to be aligned with the contents of the program that emphasize that all emotions, even the undesirable ones, are helpful for our survival and selfprotection and that emotional experience is not our fault and we do not control it, nor do we need to. These findings also align with previous studies focused on follow-up SEL programs, which showed modest results in improving social-emotional skills (Jones et al., 2017;Taylor et al., 2017), despite the well-known benefits for students and educational settings (Durlak et al., 2011;Sklad et al., 2012;Domitrovich et al., 2017;Corcoran et al., 2018). Still, about cooperation, a significant effect of time showed that both the intervention and the control group reported an average increase from pre-intervention to follow-up, which may be associated with the progressing of the school year, as it provides more opportunities for this kind of interaction to occur for all students. ...
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There are well-established benefits of social and emotional learning (SEL) programs for children within educational contexts. Combining social–emotional skills and compassion abilities has been seldomly done, and it may be valuable at individual and societal levels, for resilient, empathetic, and inclusive societies. This study explored the feasibility and efficacy of a program designed to promote socioemotional and compassion skills in children attending the 3rd and 4th grades, by using in-class dynamics complemented with serious games. This program, named “The Me and the Us of Emotions,” is part of the Gulbenkian Knowledge Academies 2020 and consists of 10 group sessions embedded in the school curriculum. Using a cluster-randomized controlled trial design, school classes were allocated to intervention (classes, n = 8; children, n = 163) and control groups (classes, n = 6; children, n = 132). During the program, facilitators assessed adherence to the sessions’ plan, attendance, dosage (i.e., how many sessions were delivered), and participant responsiveness. Children completed self-report measures of social–emotional skills and emotional climate at pre-, post-intervention, 3-month, and 6-month follow-ups. Results indicate that the program is feasible, with high adherence, high attendance rate, and participant responsiveness. Results also indicate empathy, soothing, and drive feelings to change from pre-intervention to all other assessment moments, for the intervention group only. Moreover, cooperation and threat changed over time for participants in both the control and the intervention groups. The current study offers empirical support for the feasibility and utility of a compassion-based social–emotional learning program on promoting children’s empathy, and emotions of soothing and vitality in the school context. Thus, these findings contribute to recent research on the potential added value of compassion practices within an SEL program.
... Children's social-emotional skills are a third important component of school readiness and include emotion recognition and regulation, social problem solving, and positive and negative social behavior (Denham, 2006;Weissberg et al., 2015). Positive social-emotional competence predicts later academic skills, even when controlling for cognitive skills and demographic factors (Domitrovich et al., 2017). Conversely, children who struggle with social-emotional skills are at-risk for later academic problems, delinquency, and poor adjustment (Domitrovich et al., 2017;Moffitt et al., 2011). ...
... Positive social-emotional competence predicts later academic skills, even when controlling for cognitive skills and demographic factors (Domitrovich et al., 2017). Conversely, children who struggle with social-emotional skills are at-risk for later academic problems, delinquency, and poor adjustment (Domitrovich et al., 2017;Moffitt et al., 2011). ...
This study used a person-centered approach to identify school readiness profiles in a sample of kindergartners (n=1,826) from a large and diverse school district in the United States. Using latent profile analyses and multi-level modeling, we examined three aims: 1) whether patterns of readiness skills at kindergarten entry could be detected, 2) the extent to which detected patterns predicted gains in academic and social-emotional skills, and 3) whether the quality of teacher–child interactions moderated the associations between profile membership and end of kindergarten outcomes. Based on a comparison of fit indices, a 4-profile solution best represented the data. Eighteen percent of children were in the “High Risk” profile, 34 % were in the “Ready” profile, 20 % percent of children were in the “Social-Emotional Risk” profile, and 28 % of children were in the “High Readiness” profile. For all outcomes, we found that profile membership predicted spring scores, after controlling for fall scores of each skill, suggesting that the constellation of kindergarten readiness skills matters more than any one skill. We also found that the quality of teacher–child interactions moderated associations between profile membership and changes in achievement and problem behavior for children within some groups. Results suggest that children enter kindergarten with unique profiles of skills and that supports for children may need to be individualized based on profiles to maximize social, emotional, and academic development. Results also suggest that high-quality teacher–child interactions may serve as an important protective and promotive factor for children with certain clusters of readiness skills at kindergarten entry.
... SEC is among a set of emerging contemporary issues relevant to administrators, teachers, and support staff to encourage positive outcomes for the children and families they serve. Research suggests teachers' trauma-informed attitudes and behavior impacts positive classroom environments and children's SEC development through increases in student motivation to learn, emotion regulation capabilities and willingness to take risks (Blazar & Kraft, 2017;Crosby, 2015;Domitrovich et al., 2017). Thus, efforts to adaptively engage children with past traumatic experiences to support and overcome trauma-related social-emotional struggles without retraumatization (called trauma-informed programming; Crosby, 2015;Overstreet & Chafouleas, 2016), includes improving awareness of problem behaviors stemming from underlying issues -including traumatic events experienced at school, home, or in the community among teachers and school administrators. ...
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Traumatic events during childhood are crucial to consider when addressing children’s social and emotional development, as childhood trauma is associated with negative impacts, including academic achievement. Additionally, positive classroom environments and teachers’ trauma-informed attitudes and behavior play a role in supporting recovery from children’s trauma-related experiences. Aspire, Connect, Thrive (ACT) is a trauma-informed school-based intervention that examined students’ Social Emotional Competence (SEC) and resilience for K-8th grade students in a disadvantaged, urban elementary school in Connecticut contending with the effects of students’ exposure to trauma. The present study examines the experience of ACT teachers who received professional development and subsequently implemented learned content in the classroom (N = 17; 70.6% female, mean age = 44 years; 47.1% racial/ethnic minority; mean years teaching = 15.6) through qualitative evidence of trauma sensitivity (observed and self-reported) and clinician-ratings of teachers’ positive classroom environment. Quantitative results indicate significant change over time in teachers’ attitudes and trauma-informed classroom responses. Interview themes suggest (1) teachers learned from and implemented the intervention content in their classrooms dependent upon the support the teacher was given, (2) teachers’ perspectives on the connections between the student-teacher relationship and trauma-informed attitudes or practices influenced teacher behavior, and (3) teachers’ own emotions and experiences implementing trauma-informed practices were key to classroom management.
... SEL is a multidimensional construct encompassing a set of key competencies that may be promoted via school-based programs. Within the SEL model, emotional regulation abilities (e.g., ER and ELN) are viewed as intrapersonal skills related to self-awareness, while sympathy is viewed as an interpersonal skill related to social awareness (Domitrovich, Durlak, Staley, & Weissberg, 2017). Interventions that target multiple empathy-related constructs make a more powerful contribution to ameliorating behavioral problems. ...
... Research has indicated that individuals with high interpersonal competency also tend to have positive outcomes, such as academic success, positive relationships, and better mental health [40]. Likewise, emerging adult offspring with ODD may struggle with managing conflict with their parents [24], which may be associated with poor relationships between parents and their emerging adult offspring. ...
A central requirement of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) consists of difficulties with interpersonal relationships. As emerging adults’ transition into adulthood and seek more autonomy from parents, it is important to examine how ODD problems and parent-child discord are indirectly associated through interpersonal competencies. The current study examined the indirect effects between ODD problems in emerging adults and parent-child discord through multiple interpersonal competencies as well as the additional differences among parent-child gender dyads. Emerging adults (N = 599 individuals aged 18 to 25 years; M = 19.60, SD = 1.40; 68% females) were recruited via an online research platform and completed online survey measures of ODD problems, parent-child relationship discord, and interpersonal competence. Indirect effects were significant for the mother-daughter dyad only. Additional results, limitations, and implications are discussed.
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span lang="EN-US">The objectives of the Pancasila student profile are a number of characters and competencies that are expected to be achieved by students, which are based on the noble values of Pancasila. The purpose of this article is to measure the Pancasila student profile at Madrasah Tsanawiyah (MTs) Riau Province and to find out its effect through the use of webtoon-based online comics. This study conducted a quantitative descriptive approach and focus group discussions in six State MTs. The research instrument used in this study was a Pancasila student profile questionnaire, which was distributed to students. The findings show the six indicators and their implementation in each madrasa. The six MTs in this study were categorized as very good, which indicated the need to increase Pancasila student profile. There are considerable disparities in indices of religion, fear of God Almighty, and noble character, global variety, mutual collaboration, independence, critical thinking, and creativity for Pancasila student profile policies. The use of webtoon-based online comics in measuring the Pancasila student profile studied in this study is based on madrasa policy and it has not been thoroughly tested in all MTs in Riau Province. Furthermore, it can consider its use in a wider Madrasah Tsanawiyah frame. MTs in Indonesia can measure the Pancasila student profile through the use of webtoon-based online comics to achieve student character standards that are in line with educational goals in Indonesia. This research provides a webtoon-based online comic framework to measure the Pancasila student profile.</span
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Assessing inhibitory control in young children poses a challenge because of its rapid and nonlinear development. This study examined the validity of integrating response accuracy and latency through a two-factor model, based on the data of 271 children who completed a computerized inhibitory control task. Although integrating response accuracy and latency slightly improved measurement precision, multigroup analyses of younger and older children showed inconsistent associations between response accuracy and latency if response latencies from incorrect responses were not excluded. A time-on-task analysis revealed that the extent of the accuracy gain by taking more time depended on the individual’s skill level. The validity of task performance as an indicator of inhibitory control was highest when response accuracy was the primary determinant of the inhibitory control score and response latency was only considered after the child had surpassed an accuracy threshold to further improve the score. These findings suggest that integrating response accuracy and latency into a single score should only be performed for children who can maintain high accuracy levels despite giving fast responses.
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Research has emphasized that SEL program implementation in preschool settings not only merits special consideration regarding content, instructional approaches, and opportunities to practice skills (Bierman & Motamedi, 2015; Denham, 2018; Jones & Doolittle, 2017; Mahoney et al., 2021), but also should be implemented using a culturally relevant and sustaining approach to address the needs of diverse populations (Barnes, 2019). To understand early childhood teachers’ perceptions of SEL integration and their approaches to culturally relevant SEL in classrooms from preschool to second grade, we analyzed the free responses on teachers’ attitudes and beliefs towards culturally responsive SEL from the survey conducted that focused on early childhood teachers’ perceptions of PBIS and SEL. Findings suggest that teachers’ perceptions varied from being aware of how their schools implemented or did not implement culturally relevant SEL to being unsure if their SEL programs attended to cultural relevance. Others were dismissive of the idea of culturally relevant SEL as their beliefs were grounded in the idea that they should not cater to a particular student population. Findings are discussed for further practical and research implications.
This study aims to document the emotional experiences of school counselors in promoting elementary school students' health literacy during and after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic. Six school counselors were voluntarily recruited as participants and invited to be interviewed. Interview data were analyzed using Andy Hargreave's (2001) emotional geography. Findings show that school counselors felt dissatisfied, forced, and lonely when they promoted elementary school students' health literacy remotely using synchronous and asynchronous modes during the pandemic. School counselor skills should be capable of promoting elementary school students' health literacy after the COVID‐19 pandemic and beyond.
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Evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) programs, when implemented effectively, lead to measurable and potentially long-lasting improvements in many areas of children’s lives. In the short term, SEL programs can enhance children’s confidence in themselves; increase their engagement in school, along with their test scores and grades; and reduce conduct problems while promoting desirable behaviors. In the long term, children with greater social-emotional competence are more likely to be ready for college, succeed in their careers, have positive relationships and better mental health, and become engaged citizens. Those benefits make SEL programs an ideal foundation for a public health approach to education-that is, an approach that seeks to improve the general population’s wellbeing. In this article, Mark Greenberg, Celene Domitrovich, Roger Weissberg, and Joseph Durlak argue that SEL can support a public health approach to education for three reasons. First, schools are ideal sites for interventions with children. Second, school-based SEL programs can improve students’ competence, enhance their academic achievement, and make them less likely to experience future behavioral and emotional problems. Third, evidence-based SEL interventions in all schools-that is, universal interventions-could substantially affect public health. The authors begin by defining social and emotional learning and summarizing research that shows why SEL is important for positive outcomes, both while students are in school and as they grow into adults. Then they describe what a public health approach to education would involve. In doing so, they present the prevention paradox- “a large number of people exposed to a small risk may generate many more cases [of an undesirable outcome] than a small number exposed to a high risk”-to explain why universal approaches that target an entire population are essential. Finally, they outline an effective, school-based public health approach to SEL that would maximize positive outcomes for our nation’s children.
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This meta-analysis reviewed 82 school-based, universal social and emotional learning (SEL) interventions involving 97,406 kindergarten to high school students (Mage = 11.09 years; mean percent low socioeconomic status = 41.1; mean percent students of color = 45.9). Thirty-eight interventions took place outside the United States. Follow-up outcomes (collected 6 months to 18 years postintervention) demonstrate SEL's enhancement of positive youth development. Participants fared significantly better than controls in social-emotional skills, attitudes, and indicators of well-being. Benefits were similar regardless of students’ race, socioeconomic background, or school location. Postintervention social-emotional skill development was the strongest predictor of well-being at follow-up. Infrequently assessed but notable outcomes (e.g., graduation and safe sexual behaviors) illustrate SEL's improvement of critical aspects of students’ developmental trajectories.
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There is a growing body of research emphasizing the advantages of teaching students social and emotional (SE) skills in school. Here we examine the economic value of these skills within a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) framework. Our examination has three parts. First, we describe how the current method of BCA must be expanded to adequately evaluate SE skills, and we identify important decisions analysts must make. Second, we review the evidence on the benefits of SE skills, again noting key methodological issues with respect to shadow pricing. Finally, we perform BCA of four selected social and emotional learning (SEL) interventions: 4Rs; Second Step, Life Skills Training; and Responsive Classroom. These analyses illustrate both methodological and empirical challenges in estimating net present values for these interventions. Even with these challenges, we find that the benefits of these interventions substantially outweigh the costs. We highlight promising areas of research for improving the application of BCA to SEL.
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This meta-analysis examined which classroom management strategies and programs enhanced students’ academic, behavioral, social-emotional, and motivational outcomes in primary education. The analysis included 54 random and nonrandom controlled intervention studies published in the past decade (2003–2013). Results showed small but significant effects (average g = 0.22) on all outcomes, except for motivational outcomes. Programs were coded for the presence/absence of four categories of strategies: focusing on the teacher, on student behavior, on students’ social-emotional development, and on teacher–student relationships. Focusing on the students’ social-emotional development appeared to have the largest contribution to the interventions’ effectiveness, in particular on the social-emotional outcomes. Moreover, we found a tentative result that students’ academic outcomes benefitted from teacher-focused programs.
Mental health and substance use disorders among children, youth, and young adults are major threats to the health and well-being of younger populations which often carryover into adulthood. The costs of treatment for mental health and addictive disorders, which create an enormous burden on the affected individuals, their families, and society, have stimulated increasing interest in prevention practices that can impede the onset or reduce the severity of the disorders. Prevention practices have emerged in a variety of settings, including programs for selected at-risk populations (such as children and youth in the child welfare system), school-based interventions, interventions in primary care settings, and community services designed to address a broad array of mental health needs and populations. Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People updates a 1994 Institute of Medicine book, Reducing Risks for Mental Disorders, focusing special attention on the research base and program experience with younger populations that have emerged since that time. Researchers, such as those involved in prevention science, mental health, education, substance abuse, juvenile justice, health, child and youth development, as well as policy makers involved in state and local mental health, substance abuse, welfare, education, and justice will depend on this updated information on the status of research and suggested directions for the field of mental health and prevention of disorders. © 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Americans have long recognized that investments in public education contribute to the common good, enhancing national prosperity and supporting stable families, neighborhoods, and communities. Education is even more critical today, in the face of economic, environmental, and social challenges. Today's children can meet future challenges if their schooling and informal learning activities prepare them for adult roles as citizens, employees, managers, parents, volunteers, and entrepreneurs. To achieve their full potential as adults, young people need to develop a range of skills and knowledge that facilitate mastery and application of English, mathematics, and other school subjects. At the same time, business and political leaders are increasingly asking schools to develop skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and self-management - often referred to as "21st century skills." Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century describes this important set of key skills that increase deeper learning, college and career readiness, student-centered learning, and higher order thinking. These labels include both cognitive and non-cognitive skills- such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, effective communication, motivation, persistence, and learning to learn. 21st century skills also include creativity, innovation, and ethics that are important to later success and may be developed in formal or informal learning environments. This report also describes how these skills relate to each other and to more traditional academic skills and content in the key disciplines of reading, mathematics, and science. Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century summarizes the findings of the research that investigates the importance of such skills to success in education, work, and other areas of adult responsibility and that demonstrates the importance of developing these skills in K-16 education. In this report, features related to learning these skills are identified, which include teacher professional development, curriculum, assessment, after-school and out-of-school programs, and informal learning centers such as exhibits and museums. © 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
This article contributes to the broader discussion of promotion, prevention, and intervention in child and adolescent mental health by describing implementation and early outcomes of an 8-school district demonstration project aimed at making the promotion of social and emotional learning a systemic part of school districts' practice. Eight districts are 2-3 years in to their participation in the 6-year project. The districts are large, are predominantly urban, and serve many students who are at disadvantage. The evaluation involved collection of qualitative data to measure the degree to which the districts realized the goals established in the initiative's theory of action, as well as school climate data, extant student records, and surveys of students' social and emotional competence. To date, results show that districts have followed highly individual pathways toward integrating social and emotional learning systemically, and all have made progress over time. Although school-level implementation remains at moderate levels, 2 districts in which we could examine school climate showed gains from preinitiative years. Four of 6 measured districts showed improvement in social and emotional competence for students in Grade 3, and achievement and discipline showed overall improvements across all districts. Overall findings show that implementation of the initiative's theory of action by school districts is feasible, even in times of budgetary stress and leadership turnover. This establishes the potential for school districts to serve as a lever of change in the promotion of students' social and emotional development and mental wellness.
This article establishes that a low-dimensional vector of cognitive and noncognitive skills explains a variety of labor market and behavioral outcomes. Our analysis addresses the problems of measurement error, imperfect proxies, and reverse causality that plague conventional studies. Noncognitive skills strongly influence schooling decisions and also affect wages, given schooling decisions. Schooling, employment, work experience, and choice of occupation are affected by latent noncognitive and cognitive skills. We show that the same low-dimensional vector of abilities that explains schooling choices, wages, employment, work experience, and choice of occupation explains a wide variety of risky behaviors.