Program

Jul 06, 2012

OVERVIEW

The Rochester Resilience Program is a school-based emotion regulation skills training intervention that aims to strengthen self-regulation of emotions and prevent negative social-emotional outcomes in high risk elementary school children.  An experimental evaluation found that this program had significant impacts four months after baseline on behavior control, task compliance, peer social skills, assertiveness/withdrawal, and frequency of disciplinary incidents at school when compared with a waitlist control condition.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target Population: Elementary school children with elevated behavioral and social problems.

The Rochester Resilience Project is a school-based, individual intervention for children with behavioral and social problems that aims to strengthen self-regulation of emotions.  Difficulty with self-regulation of emotions is related to diverse problems including depression, antisocial behavior, addiction, and suicidal thinking.  This program seeks to prevent these outcomes by intervening with young children who show emerging social-emotional problems. Trained paraprofessional interventionists called Resilience Mentors meet individually with children to teach emotion regulation skills.  The program utilizes adult modeling, verbal instructions, role-playing, practice in natural settings, and child-specific pacing to teach children three key skills: (1) Monitoring one’s own and others’ emotions, (2) Self-control and reducing emotional escalation, and (3) Maintaining control and regaining equilibrium.  The intervention is delivered in 14 weekly, 25-minute sessions.  Resilience Mentors coordinate with teachers to tailor the intervention to each child and to provide information about each child’s progress.

EVALUATION OF PROGRAM

Wyman, P. A., Cross, W., Brown, C. H., Yu, Q., Tu, X., & Eberly, S. (2010). Intervention to strengthen emotional self-regulation in children with emerging mental health problems: Proximal impact on school behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38, 707-720. doi:10.1007/s10802-010-9398-x.

Evaluated Population:  The sample consisted of 226 children, with elevated behavior problems as identified by their teachers, in kindergarten through 3rd grade from two elementary schools in a mid-sized city.  The sample was 54 percent male, 62 percent Black/African American, 26 percent Hispanic, 8 percent white, and 4 percent other ethnic/racial background.

Approach:  There were two waves of randomization.  During the first wave, children were stratified on gender and then randomized within classrooms.  To adjust for a difference between the treatment and control groups, children were stratified on gender and baseline behavioral control before the second randomization.  In total, 111 children were randomized to the Rochester Resilience Project intervention, while 115 were randomized to a waitlist control condition.  Teachers reported on behavior control, task orientation, assertiveness/withdrawal, and peer social skills at baseline and 4 months later.  Information about disciplinary referrals and out-of-school suspensions was gathered from school records for the 3 months prior to the intervention and for 4 months after the intervention began.  The analyses took into account the nesting of children in classrooms and of classrooms in schools.  All data are teacher-report or school records on teacher referrals and suspensions.  At baseline, the intervention and control groups were not significantly different on any outcomes, except that the intervention group had lower behavior control.

Results:  The Rochester Resilience Project found significant impacts on task orientation (effect size: 0.33), behavior control (effect size: 0.31), assertiveness/withdrawal (effect size:0.37), and peer social skills (effect size: 0.47) when compared with the control condition.  Children in the intervention group also showed significant decreases in frequency of referrals and suspensions when compared with controls.  An examination of the impact of the intervention by gender revealed that girls experienced a significant increase in peer social skills (effect size: 0.90), while social skills did not improve in boys.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Wyman, P. A., Cross, W., Brown, C. H., Yu, Q., Tu, X., & Eberly, S. (2010). Intervention to strengthen emotional self-regulation in children with emerging mental health problems: Proximal impact on school behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38, 707-720. doi:10.1007/s10802-010-9398-x.

Contact Information

Peter A. Wyman, Ph.D.

University of Rochester Medical Center

School of Medicine and Dentistry

601 Elmwood Ave, Box PSYCH

Rochester, NY 14642

Email: peter_wyman@urmc.rochester.edu

KEYWORDS:  Children (3-11), Kindergarten, Elementary, Males and Females (Co-ed), High-risk, Black/African American, School-based, Skills Training, Mentoring, Social Skills/Life Skills, Behavioral Problems Other

Program information last updated on 7/6/12.