Intervention to strengthen emotional self-regulation in children with emerging mental health problems: Proximal impact on school behavior

Peter A. Wyman, Wendi Cross, C. Hendricks Brown, Qin Yu, Xin Tu, Shirley Eberly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations

Abstract

A model for teaching children skills to strengthen emotional self-regulation is introduced, informed by the developmental concept of scaffolding. Adult modeling/ instruction, role-play and in vivo coaching are tailored to children's level of understanding and skill to promote use of skills in reallife contexts. Two-hundred twenty-six kindergarten-3rd grade children identified with elevated behavioral and social classroom problems from a population-based screening participated in a waitlisted randomized trial of the Rochester Resilience Project derived from this model. In 14 lessons with school-based mentors, children were taught a hierarchical set of skills: monitoring of emotions; selfcontrol/ reducing escalation of emotions; and maintaining control and regaining equilibrium. Mentors provided classroom reinforcement of skill use. Multi-level modeling accounting for the nesting of children in schools and classrooms showed the following effects at post-intervention: reduced problems rated by teachers in behavior control, peer social skills, shy-withdrawn and offtask behaviors (ES 0.31-0.47). Peer social skills improved for girls but not for boys. Children receiving the intervention had a 46% mean decrease in disciplinary referrals and a 43% decrease in suspensions during the 4-month intervention period. Limitations and future directions to promote skill transfer are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-720
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Volume38
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010

Keywords

  • Emotion self-regulation
  • Externalizing
  • Internalizing problems
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • School-based intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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