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Social and emotional training in Swedish classrooms for the promotion of mental health: Results from an effectiveness study in Sweden

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Mental ill-health is a major problem worldwide. It includes depression, aggressive behavior, feeling down and alcohol and drug abuse. Since all children go to school, the school is an obvious arena for health interventions. A set of educational techniques named Social and Emotional Learning, based on the use by teachers of cognitive and behavioral methods, which teaches students self-control, social competence, empathy, motivation and self-awareness, has shown promising results in the USA. This paper reports on the application of similar techniques in Sweden (the Social and Emotional Training [SET] program). The study has a quasi-experimental longitudinal design, with two intervention and two control schools. A wide range of instruments, both Swedish and international, are employed. In this paper, results from the school years 1999-2000 (baseline) through to 2001-2002 are reported. Both the intervention and the data collection were performed by ordinary school staff in a routine school setting. Independent bi-annual ratings of teachers' performance were moderate to high, and teachers' perceptions of the program were generally, although by no means universally, high. However, their performance was poorer with regard to the collection of data. In terms of promotion, findings with regard to the impact of the program on mental health are generally favorable-in particular through the promotion of aspects of self-image, including well-being and the hindering of aggressiveness, bullying, attention-seeking and alcohol use. There was, however, no differential effect on social skills. It seems that SET has the potential to operate effectively as a health-promoting intervention during the school period, although its main impact may rather be to act as a brake on the deterioration in some aspects of mental health that is common during adolescence. Positively significant relationships were found on some but not all of the instrument scales, and effect sizes were medium.
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Health Education Research
doi:10.1093/her/cyn040
First published online 18 Aug 2008; Health Educ. Res.
Birgitta Kimber, Rolf Sandell and Sven Bremberg
study of 5 years of intervention
Social and emotional training in Swedish schools for the promotion of mental health: an effectiveness
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Social and emotional training in Swedish schools for
the promotion of mental health: an effectiveness
study of 5 years of intervention
Birgitta Kimber
1
*, Rolf Sandell
2
and Sven Bremberg
1
Abstract
The school is an obvious arena for interventions
designed to promote mental health among chil-
dren. A set of educational techniques named
social and emotional learning, which focuses
on students’ self-control, social competence,
empathy, motivation and self-awareness, has
shown promising results in the United States.
This is a study of the application of a similar
method in Sweden (referred to as social and
emotional training) for school years 2000/2001
through to 2004/2005. It is an effectiveness
rather than an efficacy study, largely adminis-
tered by school personnel, which relates dura-
tion of the training (1–5 years) to a set of
outcomes previously found to be associated with
mental health. Positive and significant effects
were found on ve of seven variables: internal-
izing problems, externalizing problems, mas-
tery (reflecting self-efficacy or hopelessness),
self-image and self-esteem and contentment in
school. Effect sizes were medium. Somewhat
surprisingly, no relationship was found between
the intervention and the promotion of social
skills. Nor was there any detectable long-term
impact on bullying. Controlling for student gen-
der did not moderate any of the effects.
Introduction
According to the World Health Organization, men-
tal ill health is—alongside cardiovascular disease—
one of the two most important public health prob-
lems worldwide. Among people aged 1–44 years,
mental ill-health, which includes depression, ag-
gressive behaviour, feeling down and alcohol and
drug misuse, is the greatest health problem in high-
income countries. Internalizing problems, such as
anxiety and depression, have been shown to impose
a greater burden on mental health than externalizing
problems [1].
It is hard to predict who will develop mental
disorders among the young, and this has implica-
tions for effective health promotion [2]. Since
nearly all children go to school, the school is an
obvious arena for health-promoting activities. A
set of educational techniques, social emotional
learning (SEL), based on the use by teachers of
cognitive and behavioural methods, which con-
cerns students’ self-control, social competence,
empathy, motivation and self-awareness, has shown
promising results [3–8]. As a mechanism, it may be
worth linking the SEL approach to the increasingly
used concept of ‘mentalization’, which, inter alia,
stresses sense of agency, social reciprocity, self-
regulation of affects, toleration of frustration, goal
setting and capacity to symbolize [9].
Meta-analyses, e.g. that of Greenberg et al. [7],
suggest that there are some shortcomings to school-
based intervention programmes and studies in this
field. Only a few include a broad range of school
grades, although it has been claimed that ‘short-term
preventive interventions produce time-limited bene-
fits, at best, with at-risk groups whereas multi-year
1
Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Social
Medicine, Karolinska Institute, SE-17177 Stockholm,
Sweden and
2
Department of Behavioral Sciences, Linko
¨
ping
University, SE-581 83 Linko
¨
ping, Sweden
*Correspondence to: B. Kimber. E-mail: b.kimber@telia.
com
Ó The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org
doi:10.1093/her/cyn040
HEALTH EDUCATION RESEARCH
Pages 10
Health Education Research Advance Access published August 18, 2008
programs are more likely to foster enduring bene-
fits’ (p. 32). Further, most studies report on efficacy
trials, undertaken with a research team in charge,
rather than effectiveness trials in a community set-
ting [10, 11]. Historically, externalizing problems
have received greater attention, but the literature is
rapidly growing on the prevention of internalizing
problems [12–16].
This study of a Swedish programme (the SET
programme, standing for social and emotional train-
ing) attempts to address these three issues. First it
considers the impact of the duration of SET (i.e. over
a number of years). Second, it is an effectiveness
rather than an efficacy study, since the programme
has been implemented by school personnel in a real-
life setting. Third, it includes internalizing mental
health aspects as well as externalizing ones.
A longitudinal study [17] considered the effects
of SET on students of all grades (junior and senior)
during the first 2 years of programme implementa-
tion. SET was found to promote mental health and
reduce detrimental health-related behaviours in
some respects, in particular through the promotion
of aspects of students’ self-image, including well-
being and a reduction in externalizing problems and
alcohol use. It was concluded that SET has the
potential to operate effectively as a preventive
intervention during the school period.
The aim of this second study of the programme,
based on 5 years of data collection, is to explore the
longer term impact of SET on various aspects of the
mental health and health-related behaviours of
senior school students (Grades 5–9 at time of mea-
surement). Drug and alcohol use will be considered
in a separate paper. Specifically, the current study
relates duration of SET to a variety of outcome
variables.
Methods
Population and sample
In Sweden, children begin compulsory school at
age 7 in Grade 1 and end at age 16 in Grade 9.
The intervention and the study were carried out in
Botkyrka Municipality in the Stockholm metropol-
itan area. In Botkyrka, there are eight schools cov-
ering all grades (junior and senior). Classes in two
of these eight schools were chosen as intervention
classes, with their students constituting the SET
group. For comparative purposes, a school of sim-
ilar size serving a socio-economically similar pop-
ulation was selected for each SET school, with
students in corresponding classes constituting the
No-SET group. Baseline measurements, accompa-
nied by covariate analysis, were employed to ensure
reasonable comparability between the groups [17].
The current study covers only the intervention par-
ticipants and controls who attended the classes in
these four schools during the first year of pro-
gramme implementation. The students responded
to a questionnaire in May each year during the first
5 years of the programme, with measurements
taken during school years 2000/2001 to 2004/
2005, designated as t1tot5. The Ethics Committee
of the Swedish Research Council approved the
study. All but two parents of the students in the
SET schools gave their consent to participation in
the study. There were no such cases in the No-SET
schools.
The intervention
The SET programme, which was designed by the
first author [18, 19], was delivered by regular class
teachers during scheduled school hours. The teach-
ers supplied SET to students in Grades 4–5 twice
a week, each session with a duration of 45 min, and
gave students in Grades 6–9 one 45-min session
a week over the total school year. The programme
was guided by detailed manuals for the teachers,
one volume for each grade, and also included
a workbook for students of each grade.
SET covers the following ve areas: self-awareness,
managing one’s emotions, empathy, motivation
and social competence. Typically, these five com-
ponents merge into one another, and therefore an
exercise according to the manual may address sev-
eral functions. The intervention is described in
greater detail by Kimber et al. [17].
The teachers were trained in SET during the
school year 1999/2000. During this school year,
B. Kimber et al.
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they had an opportunity to try out the relevant
exercises themselves and test them in their classes.
They were encouraged to raise methodological
and technical issues and discuss remaining prob-
lems. The teachers were supervised once a month
during the school year 2000/2001 and offered su-
pervision on a voluntary basis during 2001/2002.
In order to enhance programme integrity, the teach-
ers were observed and supervised individually at
least four times during the first 2 years of the in-
tervention. The views of teachers on the programme
were ascertained in a survey conducted 2 years
after programme start, which showed general,
albeit not universal, approval of its content and
implementation [20].
Study procedures and instruments
Assessments, by questionnaire, of a panel consist-
ing of all the students who remained in the classes
from outset of the SET programme, which started in
August of school year 2000/2001, were made in
May of each year, i.e. from 2001 (t1) until 2005
(t5). Questionnaires were administered to partici-
pants and controls during school hours by regular
class teachers. All the instruments employed are
well-established and have documented reliability
and validity.
‘Youth self-report (YSR)’ [21], used here in an
abbreviated Swedish version [22], measures mental
health symptoms and problems. There are 35 items,
which are split into two subscales, measuring in-
ternalizing problems and externalizing problems.
Internalizing problems include anxiety (feeling
worthless or inferior, feeling unhappy, sad or
depressed and feeling nervous or tense), while
externalizing problems encompass aggression
(threatening to hurt people or destroying property),
assertiveness (stubbornness, hot temper, etc.) and
attention-seeking (bragging, showing-off, clowning,
etc.). The items are rated on three-step scales: ‘Not
True’, ‘Somewhat or Sometimes True’, ‘Very True
or Often True’. Scale scores were means across
items, with higher scores indicating more problems.
‘Mastery’ [23], in one of its Swedish versions, is
a nine-item scale measuring feelings of self-efficacy
or hopelessness, defined as the extent to which one
regards one’s life chances as being under personal
control. Examples include ‘There is really no way
I can solve the problems I have’ and ‘I have little
control over the things that happen to me’. Items are
rated on four-step scales, ranging from ‘Strongly
agree’ to ‘Strongly disagree’. The scoring of some
of the items was inverted so that higher scores in-
dicate stronger sense of self-efficacy.
‘I think I am’ (ITIA) is a Swedish self-rating in-
strument, ‘Jag tycker jag a¨r’ [24], with roots in
American research [25]. It is designed to assess
the young person’s self-image and self-esteem
and has subscales for body image, family relations,
psychological well-being, relations with others and
talents/abilities. There are two versions of the in-
strument: ITIA-I for younger students (Grades 1–3)
and ITIA-II for older ones (Grades 4–9). Only find-
ings from ITIA-II are reported here. In ITIA-II,
there are 72 items, such as: ‘I have a nice face’,
‘I like myself’, ‘I am often sad’ and ‘My parents
trust me’. Students respond to each statement on
a four-point scale, from ‘Exactly like me’ to ‘Not
at all like me’. The items are scored 2 to 2, where
higher scores indicate a more positive self-image.
There are a number of subscales, but in this study
we only used the mean score across all items.
‘Contentment in school’, or school satisfaction,
by analogy with job satisfaction, refers to a single
item, ‘How do you like it in school?’, from a Swed-
ish health-behaviour questionnaire administered
annually by the Swedish Council for Information
on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN) [26]. Content-
ment was rated on a five-step response scale, rang-
ing from ‘Very good’ to ‘Very bad’. Scoring was
inverted so that higher scores indicate greater
contentment.
‘Bullying’ is the mean of three items from the
CAN questionnaire [26]. The aspects considered
are being insulted, being physically assaulted and
‘being sent to Coventry’. A three-step response
scale was used: ‘Yes, often’, ‘Yes, sometimes’
and ‘No, seldom or never’. Higher scores indicate
fewer problems.
‘The Social Skills Rating System (SSRS)’ [27]
consists of 34 items for Grades 4–6 and 7 additional
Social and emotional training in Swedish schools
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items for Grades 7–9, all with four-point response
scales, ‘Never’ (0), ‘Sometimes’ (1), ‘Often’ (2)
and ‘Very often’ (3). The ratings may be scored
on four subscales (assertion, empathy, cooperation
and self-control), but in this study the mean score
across all items was used. Higher mean scores in-
dicate greater social skills.
The instruments and scales and their reliabilities
and re-test correlations over the first 2 years of the
intervention are shown in Table I. It should be
noted that their intercorrelations were strong
enough to produce a general factor, accounting
for 49% of the total common variance before rota-
tion. Two more factors each accounted for >10% of
the variance. We concluded that the battery was
essentially multifactorial, with a general adjustment
factor (mastery, ITIA, SSRS, YSR internalization),
one school adjustment factor (school contentment,
bullying, SSRS) and one mental health factor (YSR
internalization, YSR externalization, bullying) after
rotation. The reliabilities of the mastery and bully-
ing scales were poor, probably due to the relatively
small number of items. Nevertheless, we decided to
use both scales for exploratory reasons.
Study design
For the current study, we employed a mixed design,
in which there is ‘a mixture of between-group and
repeated-measures variables’ [28] (p. 483) to com-
pare students in the SET and No-SET schools
according to duration of SET or No-SET (1–5
years), regardless of grade. Given a student’s grade
at t1, t2, t3, etc., we formed a variable for duration
of the SET programme (number of years). Thus, the
SET students in Grade 5 when the questionnaire
was administered at t1 had had 1 year of SET;
students in Grade 5 at t2 (Grade 4 at t1) had had
2 years of SET, students in Grade 5 at t3 (Grade 3
at t1) had had 3 years and so on. We were able to
secure a sizable number of observations (2455 in
total), for SET (1857) and No-SET (598), distrib-
uted across years. We then compared the mean
trajectories on each outcome measure between stu-
dents in the SET schools and the No-SET schools as
a function of the number of years that the pro-
gramme had been running.
Statistical analyses
Differences between the groups (SET and No-SET)
in their development from t1tot5 were tested in
three different ways. SPSS version 12 was used for
the statistical calculations.
(i) For each of the outcome variables, a linear re-
gression was performed for each student group,
which provides measures of the linear trends as
effects of the intervention. Thus, each outcome var-
iable was regressed on number of years (at t1, t2 .
t5) among the SET students and the No-SET stu-
dents separately. This permitted direct tests of the
trend-across-years differences between the groups,
Table I. Instruments and scales used, with reliabilities
(Cronbach’s a) for years 1 and 2 and re-test correlations
between year 1 and year 2 (Grades 4–9)
Instrument/scale Cronbach’s a Re-test
correlation
t1 (May
2001)
t2 (May
2002)
r
(t1, t2)
aa
YSR
Internalizing 0.86 0.88 0.46
Externalizing 0.82 0.81 0.54
Total score 0.89 0.89 0.51
Mastery 0.52 0.59 0.45
ITIA
Body image 0.80 0.77 0.46
Family relations 0.85 0.83 0.64
Psychological well-being 0.83 0.80 0.52
Relations with others 0.74 0.65 0.41
Talents/abilities 0.81 0.81 0.48
Total score 0.95 0.93 0.57
Contentment in school n.a. n.a. 0.44
Bullying 0.71 0.65 0.25
Social skills
Cooperation 0.76 0.75 0.53
Assertion 0.60 0.61 0.52
Empathy 0.79 0.76 0.48
Self-control 0.58 0.59 0.40
Total score 0.89 0.89 0.53
n.a.= not applicable; scale had only one item.
B. Kimber et al.
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based on estimates of the mean change rates in the
groups provided by the unstandardized slope
parameters, bs. The standardized (z-transformed)
regression coefficients, bs, were taken as within-
conditions (or within-groups) effect-size estimates,
and the differences between the unstandardized re-
gression coefficients, bs, were tested according to
Cohen [29]: z=ðb1 b2Þ=½ðSE
2
1
+SE
2
2
Þ
1=2
.
(ii) Adopting Becker’s approach [30], between-
groups effect sizes were computed for each depen-
dent variable. A within-group d was first computed
for each intervention group by dividing the t5–t1
mean difference by the standard deviation at t1 and
then subtracting the d in the No-SET group from
that in the SET group. This gives a change effect
size parameter (Becker’s D). Cohen’s classification
of effect sizes (small = 0.2, medium = 0.5, large =
0.8) was employed [29].
(iii) Analyses of variance (ANOVAs) (or multi-
variate analyses of variance, MANOVAs, when we
analysed an instrument with subscales, such as the
YSR and the ITIA) were run on the outcome scale
(or subscales), with intervention or not (SET or
No-SET), number of years (t1, t2 . t5) and student
gender as independent variables. It was presumed
that there is no SET/No-SET by study years or
grade interaction, which assumes that duration of
SET acts independently of age of student. Although
the design was mixed, partly within subjects and
partly between subjects, duration (number of years)
was analysed as a between-subjects factor, which
introduced a conservative bias to the tests. Given
significantly different mean changes of the unstan-
dardized regression coefficients, the critical effect
was the intervention-by-years interaction. The gen-
eneralized linear modelling (GLM) routine of
SPSS, version 12, was used.
Results
Attrition
Since the study was based on the responses of a
panel, there was progressive sample attrition over
the years due to normal turnover. Also, there was
variable, temporary absence of students at time of
testing, which in some cases resulted in more respond-
ents in one year than the year before. See Table II.
Attrition can be determined by looking at the
diagonals in Table II. For example, at t1 (May
2001), there were 138 Grade 5 respondents out of
the 141 students in the SET classes that year (upper
left cell of Table II, upper part: Grade 5 at t1), while
Table II. Frequency distribution of respondents across grades and number of years (sample sizes in parentheses
a
)
Grade Time of assessment
t1 t2 t3 t4 t5
SET 5 138 (141) 61 (65) 76 (78) 41 (63) 53 (68)
6 111 (116) 136 (140) 51 (61) 61 (68) 59 (60)
7 87 (118) 91 (106) 112 (116) 48 (49) 42 (46)
8 106 (106) 67 (73) 65 (82) 75 (78) 48 (51)
9 82 (101) 72 (106) 59 (65) 72 (75) 44 (68)
No-SET 5 31 (46) 16 (28) 43 (46) 22 (43) 1 (18)
6 29 (35) 31 (33) 12 (25) 37 (39) 39 (43)
7 29 (32) 21 (32) 21 (30) 13 (25) 30 (32)
8 31 (31) 23 (31) 19 (21) 15 (28) 23 (25)
9 24 (35) 25 (31) 18 (21) 20 (21) 25 (28)
The table can be read across rows or along columns, in which cases the comparisons are between different student cohorts (between
subjects); reading along the upper left to lower right diagonals enables comparisons between students from the same classes over time
(within subjects), which show the rates of progressive panel mortality.
a
That is, both respondents and non-respondents in the classes under study.
Social and emotional training in Swedish schools
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at t5 (May 2005), there were 44 respondents out of
68 (lower right cell: Grade 9 at t5); these were the
remaining original students (from Grade 5 at t1)
who had progressed to Grade 9. Overall, there
was gradual dropout of 15–19% each year in the
SET group. The overall response rate (rate of return
of fully filled-in questionnaires) for the SET group
was 88%, and for the No-SET group 77% (figures
not shown in Table II). Over the years, response
rates for SET ranged from 65 to 100% and for
No-SET from 51 to 100% (excluding a single case
where there was only one respondent, due to ad-
ministrative error). Response rates in the No-SET
group were more variable than in the SET group.
We needed to establish whether our results were
biased by selective sample attrition, i.e. whether
any apparent positive or negative effects of SET
might instead be attributable to differences in drop-
out between high-scoring and low-scoring students.
Improving mean scores along the diagonals (e.g.
from Grade 5 students at t1 to Grade 9 students at
t5, i.e. the same students minus dropouts) would
imply greater dropout of low-scoring students (neg-
ative attrition), and deteriorating scores greater
dropout of high-scoring students (positive attrition).
ANOVAs were conducted on five of the outcome
scales (YSR total, mastery, ITIA total, contentment
in school and social skills) for each of the seven
cohorts (diagonals) in the SET group. There were
significant changes on only seven of the 35 result-
ing tests. Of these, four were cases of negative at-
trition and three of positive attrition. We concluded
that attrition in the SET sample had not been biased
towards either low- or high-scoring students.
Findings
An overall picture of developments over the years is
given in Fig. 1. All relationships were in the expected
direction; that is, SET students consistently reported
more favourable outcomes over time than did No-
SET students. There was a time lag with regard to
some of the effects, and there were greater fluctuations
in effects according to duration in the No-SET group.
Regression coefficients and effect sizes by out-
come variable and group are shown in Table III. Of
the bs, differences between the two groups were
statistically significant on all but two (bullying
and social skills) of the seven outcome variables.
On the five significant variables (YSR internalizing,
YSR externalizing, mastery, ITIA total and content-
ment in school) effect sizes (D) were small to me-
dium on Cohen’s criteria [29]. It should be noted
that bs between 0.10 and 0.15 correspond to ds
between 0.20 and 0.31 and that D is the difference
between the ds of the two groups.
It should be recognized that the intercorrelations
among the variables and their sheer number may
have generated redundant or spurious significances.
A reasonable Bonferroni correction would accept
two-starred effects (P < 0.01) as significant only
at the P < 0.05 level.
To test the effects of the possible dependencies in
the data resulting from the complex design, partly
crossed, partly nested, we repeated the same anal-
yses, first, with classes and, finally, with schools as
units. These analyses yielded essentially very sim-
ilar estimates of the unstandardized regression coef-
ficients but substantially larger differences between
the standardized regression coefficients in the SET
and No-SET groups, in comparison with the origi-
nal analyses. We concluded that within-group de-
pendencies had not exaggerated the between-group
differences.
The results of the ANOVAs are displayed in
Table IV. These show the statistical significances
of the interactions between SET/No-SET and the
durations (1–5 years) in relation to the outcome var-
iables rather than the linear trends (in which there is
just one comparison for each variable). All but one of
the seven interactions were found to be statistically
significant, the exception being social skills. On the
YSR, there was a significant SET/No-SET-by-years
interaction. The interaction was significant on both
subscales, although with a stronger effect on inter-
nalizing than on externalizing problems.
The total ITIA score showed a univariately sig-
nificant SET/No-SET-by-years interaction, but
there was a clear differentiation between the groups
only at t5. It should be noted that there were signif-
icant univariate effects on three of the subscales, i.e.
body image, F (4, 2252) = 3.71, P = 0.005; relations
with others, F (4, 2252) = 3.33, P = 0.010 and
B. Kimber et al.
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well-being, F (4, 2252) = 2.64, P = 0.032 (figures not
shown in Table IV). Student gender did not compli-
cate the two-way interaction on any of the scales.
Contentment in school also showed a significant
univariate SET/No-SET-by-years interaction, with
no further interaction with student gender.
Fig. 1. Relations between duration of SET/No-SET and the outcome variables, with raw scores on the vertical axes and number of years
on the horizontal axes.
Social and emotional training in Swedish schools
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Although bullying had a small effect size, it
showed a highly significant SET/No-SET-by-years
interaction. This is explained by the fact that there
was a stable mean level over the years in the SET
group and a quite variable one in the No-SET
group, which ends up only slightly higher than
the SET group at t5. Student gender did not affect
developments in the two groups.
The social skills scale did not differentiate be-
tween the SET and No-SET groups. None of the
subscales even approached a significant SET/No-
SET-by-years interaction.
Discussion
The impact of an SEL intervention in Sweden
(the SET training programme) showed generally
favourable results in the longer run, as shown by
the comparisons between the SET and No-SET
regressions.
Relating duration of social emotional training to
various outcomes associated with mental health,
significant positive connections were found on five
out of the seven dependent variables considered:
YSR internalizing, YSR externalizing, mastery,
ITIA (total) and contentment in school. Effect sizes
were medium.
In the SET schools, bullying was at a continu-
ously low level, whereas in the No-SET schools,
the level varied strongly from year to year. Consid-
ering duration, it was found that there was no dif-
ference in trend between the SET and No-SET
groups. SET may offer a means of providing greater
continuity in this arena in that peak incidences in
the level of bullying are avoided.
SET students may have become more familiar
than their No-SET counterparts with the ‘vocabu-
lary’ of the SET questionnaire, and this reflected
itself in greater consistency of questionnaire
responses. The issue of what is artefactual and what
is not is of substantive importance; enhancing ca-
pacity to give names to feelings has for long been
regarded as a promoter of mental health [31].
The current study reveals significant duration
lags on some variables. It now appears that there
is a greater beneficial effect of SET on internaliz-
ing than externalizing problems, but this only
Table III. Regression coefficients and effect sizes for SET/No-SET by groups and outcome variables
Outcome variables SET No-SET D z
b
b d
1–5
b d
1–5
YSR, internalizing 0.14 0.37 0.05 0.19 0.56 4.02***
YSR, externalizing 0.13 0.37 0.03 0.05 0.42 2.16*
Mastery 0.11 0.42 0.00 0.06 0.36 2.42**
ITIA, total 0.11 0.44 0.03 0.10 0.54 2.74**
Contentment in school 0.06 0.19 0.11 0.41 0.60 3.57***
Bullying 0.03 0.11 0.02 0.24 0.35 0.72
Social skills, total 0.11 0.26 0.10 0.19 0.07 0.15
All figures in the table are adjusted to show positive values to indicate improvement and negative values to indicate deterioration. b =
standardized regression coefficient when the outcome variable is regressed on years (1–5). d
1–5
= (M year 1 – M year 5)/pooled SD. D =
d
1–5
in SET d
1–5
in No-SET. z
b
refers to the difference between the SET and No-SET bs.
*P < 0.05, **P < 0.01, ***P < 0.001 (one-tailed tests).
Table IV. F-tests of interactions between SET/No-SET and
number of years by outcome variable
Outcome variable Degrees of
freedom
FP
YSR, internalizing 4, 2337 4.86 0.001
YSR, externalizing 4, 2337 2.50 0.041
Mastery 4, 2340 3.43 0.008
ITIA, total 4, 2253 3.48 0.008
Contentment in school 4, 2312 4.77 0.001
Bullying 4, 2255 3.86 0.004
Social skills, total 4, 2356 0.71 0.588
B. Kimber et al.
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emerged after 3–4 years. In the case of mastery
(which, inter alia, measures depressive feelings),
3 years of SET seem to have been needed before
the programme had a detectable impact and in the
case of the ITIA (which measures self-image and
self-esteem) 4 years. It seems that SET, as a form
of health promotion, requires a long time of regu-
lar systematic implementation to be effective. This
is in line with earlier studies [7]. It should be re-
emphasized that in a real-life effectiveness study,
beneficial outcomes may take longer to appear or
detect.
Social skills is a remarkable exception to the rest
[27]. Maybe, as suggested by Durlak and Wells in
their review [6], SEL programmes have a greater
impact on emotional than on social skills.
Although the repeated-measures analyses were
cross-sectional, the sample on which these analyses
were performed was subject to attrition. Obviously,
some SET participants and controls did not respond
>5 years or even >2 years. We have, however,
shown that the differential outcomes between the
SET and No-SET groups cannot be explained away
by selective attrition within the SET group, i.e. that
students with poorer mental health were less likely
to respond over longer periods. Also, we know that
some positively scoring students moved to a new
school (a so-called ‘free’ school, with higher aca-
demic ambitions) when it opened in the vicinity of
the SET schools. Although there was also some
movement from the No-SET schools, which were
further away, the recruitment differential might
mean that the recorded positive effects of SET were
underestimated.
There are some issues with reference to appli-
cations for practitioners. If SET has a positive
value, should it be a regular part of the school
curriculum? If so, how much training of the teach-
ers is needed and how much parental involvement
is necessary?
The study revealed some clear positive effects of
SET on mental health. Continued analysis of the
SET programme is ongoing with regard to drug,
alcohol, volative-substance use (sniffing) and
smoking outcomes and to issues of implementation
and attitudes of the SET teachers.
Funding
Funding for the research was provided through
grant 2001–1072 from the Swedish Council for
Social Research (SFR) and grant 2003–2785 from
the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social
Research.
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... This intervention program was a school-based SET mental health program for Swedish school children (Kimber et al., 2008). The SET program was primarily focused on mental health, but also targeted other aspects of participants' lives, such as bullying. ...
... Similar to perpetration outcomes, 14 evaluations used age cohort designs to evaluate the effect of antibullying programs on bullying victimization outcomes. ; Romania (i.e., Trip et al., 2015); Sweden (i.e., Kimber et al., 2008); Switzerland (Alsaker & Valkanover, 2001); South Africa (Meyer & Lesch, 2000); ...
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Therefore, school bullying is an important target for effective intervention, and should be considered a matter of public health concern. Objectives The objective of this review is to establish whether or not existing school‐based antibullying programs are effective in reducing school‐bullyng behaviors. This report also updates a previous meta‐analysis conducted by Farrington and Ttofi. This earlier review found that antibullying programs are effective in reducing bullying perpetration and victimization and a primary objective of the current report is to update the earlier analysis of 53 evaluations by conducting new searches for evaluations conducted and published since 2009. Search Methods Systematic searches were conducted using Boolean combinations of the following keywords: bully*; victim*; bully‐victim; school; intervention; prevention; program*; evaluation; effect*; and anti‐bullying. Searches were conducted on several online databases including, Web of Science, PscyhINFO, EMBASE, EMBASE, DARE, ERIC, Google Scholar, and Scopus. Databases of unpublished reports, such as masters' and doctoral theses (e.g., Proquest) were also searched. Selection Criteria Results from systematic searches were screened thoroughly against the following inclusion criteria. To be included in this review, a study must have: (1) described an evaluation of a school‐based antibullying program implemented with school‐age participants; (2) utilized an operational definition of school‐bullying that coincides with existing definitions; (3) measured school‐bullying perpetration and/or victimization using quantitative measures, such as, self‐, peer‐, or teacher‐report questionnaires; and (4) used an experimental or quasi‐experimental design, with one group receiving the intervention and another not receiving the intervention. Data Collection and Analysis Of the 19,877 search results, 474 were retained for further screening. The majority of these were excluded, and after multiple waves of screening, 100 evaluations were included in our meta‐analysis. A total of 103 independent effect sizes were estimated and each effect size was corrected for the impact of including clusters in evaluation designs. Included evaluations were conducted using both randomized (n = 45; i.e., randomized controlled trials/RCTs) and nonrandomized (n = 44; i.e., quasi‐experimental designs with before/after measures; BA/EC) methodologies. All of these studies included measures of bullying outcomes before and after implementation of an intervention. The remaining 14 effect sizes were estimated from evaluations that used age cohort designs. Two models of meta‐analysis are used to report results in our report. All mean effects computed are presented using both the multivariance adjustment model (MVA) and random effects model (RE). The MVA model assigns weights to primary studies in direct proportion to study level sampling error as with the fixed effects model but adjusts the meta‐analytic standard error and confidence intervals for study heterogeneity. The RE model incorporates between‐study heterogeneity into the formula for assigning weights to primary studies. The differences and strengths/limitations of both approaches are discussed in the context of the present data. Results Our meta‐analysis identified that bullying programs significantly reduce bullying perpetration (RE: odds ratio [OR] = 1.309; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.24–1.38; z = 9.88; p < .001) and bullying victimization (RE: OR = 1.244; 95% CI: 1.19–1.31; z = 8.92; p < .001), under a random effects model of meta‐analysis. Mean effects were similar across both models of meta‐analysis for bullying perpetration (i.e., MVA: OR = 1,324; 95% CI: 1.27–1.38; z = 13.4; p < .001) and bullying victimization (i.e., MVA: OR = 1.248; 95% CI: 1.21–1.29; z = 12.06; p < .001). Under both computational models, primary studies were more effective in reducing bullying perpetration than victimization overall. Effect sizes varied across studies, with significant heterogeneity between studies for both bullying perpetration (Q = 323.392; df = 85; p < .001; I² = 73.716) and bullying victimization (Q = 387.255; df = 87; p < .001; I² = 77.534) outcomes. Analyses suggest that publication bias is unlikely. Between‐study heterogeneity was expected, given the large number of studies included, and thus, the number of different programs, methods, measures and samples used. Authors' Conclusions We conclude that overall, school‐based antibullying programs are effective in reducing bullying perpetration and bullying victimization, although effect sizes are modest. The impact of evaluation methodology on effect size appears to be weak and does not adequately explain the significant heterogeneity between primary studies. Moreover, the issue of the under‐/over‐estimation of the true treatment effect by different experimental designs and use of self‐reported measures is reviewed. The potential explanations for this are discussed, along with recommendations for future primary evaluations. Avenues for future research are discussed, including the need further explain differences across programs by correlating individual effect sizes with varying program components and varying methodological elements available across these 100 evaluations. Initial findings in the variability of effect sizes across different methodological moderators provide some understanding on the issue of heterogeneity, but future analyses based on further moderator variables are needed.
... These skills help students to be more active in the classroom environment and participate more in educational activities, which, in turn, increase academic achievement (Eisenberg et al., 2010;Rhoades et al., 2011). Moreover, considering the proposition that the main goal of social-emotional learning skills-based programs is to increase the quality of life and well-being of individuals Kimber et al., 2008), we can say that social-emotional learning skills can increase students' positive affect and therefore their happiness. On the other hand, social-emotional learning skills-based programs are effective in preventing situations that may negatively affect students' educational life. ...
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Basic Concepts in Prevention. Prevention of Behavioral and Social Problems. Prevention of Learning Problems. Drug Prevention. Programs to Improve Physical Health. Injury Prevention. Child Maltreatment. Is Prevention Cost-Effective/ Importance of Policy. Current Status and Future Directions. Appendix A: Characteristics of Effective Skill Training Programs. Appendix B: Helpful Resources on Prevention. Indexes.
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Describes a new cognitive approach designed to help preschool and kindergarten children with social adjustment problems through the development of problem-solving skills. A training program utilizing this approach is described in which games and dialogues between adults and children are used to teach word concepts and to develop cognitive skills. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)