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Keywords:

  • Mental health;
  • academic performance;
  • intervention quality;
  • primary school children;
  • social-emotional competencies

Background:  This paper argues for giving explicit attention to the quality of implementation of school-wide mental health promotions and examines the impact of implementation quality on academic performance in a major Australian mental health initiative.

Method:  Hierarchical linear modelling was used to investigate change in standardised academic performance across the 2-year implementation of a mental health initiative in 96 Australian primary (or elementary) schools that was focused on improving student social-emotional competencies.

Results:  After controlling for differences in socioeconomic background, a significant positive relationship existed between quality of implementation and academic performance. The difference between students in high- and low-implementing schools was equivalent to a difference in academic performance of up to 6 months of schooling.