Strengthening socio-emotional competencies in a school setting: Data from the Pyramid project

Authors

  • Madeleine Ohl,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Psychology, Social Work and Human Sciences, University of WestLondon, UK
      Dr Madeleine Ohl, School of Psychology, Social Work and Human Sciences, University of West London, Paragon, Boston Manor Road, TW8 9GA, UK (e-mail: maddie.ohl@uwl.ac.uk).
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  • Pauline Fox,

    1. School of Psychology, Social Work and Human Sciences, University of WestLondon, UK
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  • Kathryn Mitchell

    1. School of Psychology, Social Work and Human Sciences, University of WestLondon, UK
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Dr Madeleine Ohl, School of Psychology, Social Work and Human Sciences, University of West London, Paragon, Boston Manor Road, TW8 9GA, UK (e-mail: maddie.ohl@uwl.ac.uk).

Abstract

Background. Development of socio-emotional competencies is key to children's successful social interaction at home and at school.

Aims. This study examines the efficacy of a UK primary school-based intervention, the Pyramid project, in strengthening children's socio-emotional competencies.

Sample. Participants were 385 children from seven schools in two UK cities. All children were aged 7–8 years and in school Year 3. Children were screened for socio-emotional difficulties through the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ; Goodman, 1997) and a multi-agency meeting of relevant professionals before being allocated to attend a Pyramid Club intervention (n= 103) or a comparison group (n= 282).

Method. A 2 × 2 mixed-model design was used: group (intervention group vs. comparison group) × 2 time points (pre- vs. 12 weeks post-intervention) with repeated measures on the time factor to investigate the impact of the Pyramid Year 3 intervention. Teachers completed the SDQ-T4-16 for all children pre- and post-intervention to measure participants’ socio-emotional health status.

Results. As measured by the two SDQ difficulty sub-scales of Emotional and Peer problems and the SDQ strength sub-scale of Prosocial behaviour, post-intervention improvements in the Pyramid attendee group were of greater magnitude than those of the comparison group.

Conclusions. The Pyramid project intervention improves the socio-emotional health of vulnerable children through promoting positive outcomes as well as reducing socio-emotional deficits. These findings further support the inclusion of a salutogenic approach in promoting children's socio-emotional well-being.

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