Strategies and Tools to Embrace Prevention with Upstream Programs: A Novel Pilot Program for Enhancing Social and Emotional Protective Factors in Middle School Students
Children and Schools
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Social–emotional learning (SEL) programs can be considered upstream, or primary prevention, because they focus on providing students with the life skills necessary to navigate situations and relationships from which problem behaviors may arise to prevent a crisis situation. Strategies & Tools to Embrace Prevention with Upstream Programs (SEL@MS, formerly known as STEP UP) is a comprehensive SEL curriculum for middle school students aimed at promoting universal prevention strategies for healthy populations. SEL@MS enhances protective factors against negative behaviors by reinforcing multilevel approaches to strengthening community, interpersonal, and individual attributes with lesson plans that can be integrated into school curricula. This quasi-experimental pilot study was conducted over the course of two years with 59 middle school students assigned to either the intervention (n = 27) or control (n = 32) group. Analyses demonstrated significant improvements among students in the intervention group in self-regulation, responsibility, social competence, and empathy. Results of this study suggest that SEL@MS is a promising approach to enhance social and emotional protective factors that, when fostered over time, have the potential to improve overall mental health.
Protective factors; School mental health; Social Emotional Assets and Resilience Scales; Social–emotional learning; Upstream programs
Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Education | Mental and Social Health
Knight, M. A.,
Goldberg, P. M.,
Strategies and Tools to Embrace Prevention with Upstream Programs: A Novel Pilot Program for Enhancing Social and Emotional Protective Factors in Middle School Students.
Children and Schools, 41(4),