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Title: The effectiveness of a school-based, universal mental health programme in six European countries
Authors: Cefai, Carmel
Camilleri, Liberato
Bartolo, Paul
Grazzani, Ilaria
Cavioni, Valeria
Conte, Elisabetta
Ornaghi, Veronica
Agliati, Alessia
Gandellini, Sabina
Vorkapic, Sanja Tatalovic
Poulou, Maria
Martinsone, Baiba
Stokenberga, Ieva
Simões, Celeste
Santos, Margarida
Colomeischi, Aurora Adina
Keywords: Mental health -- Study and teaching
Affective education
Social learning
School management and organization -- Europe
Issue Date: 2022-08-08
Publisher: Frontiers
Citation: Cefai, C., Camilleri, L., Bartolo, P., Grazzani, I., Cavioni, V., Conte, E., ... Colomeischi, A. A. (2022). The effectiveness of a school-based, universal mental health programme in six European countries. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, 925614.
Abstract: As children and young people today face ever increasing social, emotional and mental health challenges, schools, as one of the primary systems in children’s lives, are called to broaden their agenda and help to address these challenges. This paper discusses the evaluation of a school-based, universal mental health promotion programme developed recently for the European context. The programme provides a universal curriculum from early years to high school, aiming to promote social and emotional learning and resilience and prevent social, emotional, and behavioural problems in children and adolescents. A total of 7,789 students (and their teachers and parents) from kindergarten to high school across 6 countries in Europe were recruited from 434 classrooms in 124 schools, making use of cluster sampling. A quasi- experimental longitudinal design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme on students’ outcomes by comparing the groups’ outcomes within times (pre-test vs. post-test) and between groups (experimental vs. control group). A total of 779 classroom teachers completed pre-and-post scales measuring students’ social and emotional learning, mental health and academic achievement. Results indicate that the experimental group had significantly larger increase in social and emotional competence and prosocial behaviour, and a decrease in mental health issues (externalising and internalising problems). No significant impact was found for academic outcomes. The findings are discussed in view of the limitations of the study and areas for further research.
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