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“Bouncing-Back” and Relaxation were the Most Valued Skills Acquired by 369 Students During a School-Based Resiliency Program

Journal: Journal of Addiction & Prevention (Vol.6, No. 1)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ;

Page : 01-07

Keywords : Cognitive behavioral therapy; Penn resiliency program (PRP); Screening; Substance misuse; Youth mental health;

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Background: Drug and alcohol use during adolescence continues to be concerning, and evidence suggests this can be reduced with resiliency training. Here we provide results from a qualitative inquiry into the possible effectiveness of a resiliency program given to students in Grades 6-8 (aged 11-14) who were taking part in a larger program. Methods: As part of a larger series of interventions in schools (EMPATHY program), a translated resiliency program for youth, called Op Volle Kracht (OVK) in its original Dutch this in turn is a modified version of the Penn Resiliency Program (PRP). It was delivered during classroom time to 2,063 students in Grades 6-8 (aged 11-14). Qualitative data on student perspective on OVK was collected on an anonymous basis via electronic tablets. Of this population of 2,063 a total of 369 (18%) students participated in this qualitative study. Findings: Through content analysis, four main themes were identified. Students across all Grades reported learning new skills as the most appreciated feature of the OVK, specifically learning how to “bounce-back” from difficult situations. Learning relaxation techniques and tools to relieve stress were also reported as useful. Students in Grade 8 favoured incentives more than their younger peers, while the need for an interactive program was reported to be less useful with the older age group. Conclusions: This analysis is helpful in providing real-world feedback regarding what students, aged 11-14, found most helpful in dealing with their challenges. Overall, skills-training was the most valued feature, and this can be incorporated in future interventions to increase mental health resiliency in children and youth.

Last modified: 2019-01-02 18:34:24