School violence and bullying among children and adolescents have a detrimental impact on mental health and are prevalent problems among the school-age population. “Saliendo Aprendo” (SA) is a new Chilean program created by the research team inspired by the social development model. The current implementation of SA consists of 12 (90 min) sessions delivered by a trained facilitator, where students learn and practice self-regulation and social problem-solving skills using environmental and pro-nature themes; plus, six booster sessions, where students plan, create and deliver a group environmental project where they practice collaboration, creativity, assertive communication and critical thinking skills. Aims: 1) To assess the acceptability and feasibility of the program among 5th graders in vulnerable schools, 2) To assess the psychometric properties of several measures to evaluate school violence, social problem-solving skills, and self-regulation.
Methods. Quasi-experimental pilot study. Seven schools were recruited at the beginning of 2018 (n=227 students), and then a self-administered baseline assessment of school violence, mental health (SDQ), social problem-solving skills (SPSI-RS), self-regulation (an abbreviated version of the EATQ-R), was carried out in July 2018. A similar assessment will be conducted in November 2018 (after the first 12 sessions) and July 2019 (after the booster sessions). Primary outcomes are acceptability and feasibility of the program, and secondary outcomes are school violence, mental health, social problem-solving skills, and self-regulation. During the implementation, acceptability, feasibility, and knowledge about environmental consciousness assessments are being conducted. We explored the internal reliability and item structure of the questionnaires of secondary outcomes.
The twelve initial sessions were completed in all schools. Most students liked the program (82%), and value the interactive activities. Baseline assessment provides the following results: school violence questionnaire has two subscales with excellent reliability: being a victim (alpha=0.85), and being a perpetrator (alpha=0.83). 51.6% of students referred they have been victims of aggressive behaviors at least two times in the last seven days. 58.6% of students identified themselves as perpetrators of aggressive behaviors at least two times in the last seven days. The mean score for SDQ total psychological difficulties subscale was 12.8 (SD=5.6). The reliability of SPSI-RS was 0.72, and 0.74 for the abbreviated version of the EATQ-R. Being a perpetrator was positively related to mental health difficulties, and negatively related to self-regulation and social problem-solving skills. Being a victim was positively related to mental health difficulties, and negatively related to social problem-solving skills.
Preliminary results showed that students liked the intervention. Besides, secondary outcomes are measured by reliable self-reported questionnaires. School violence is a prevalent problem among 5th graders and victimization and perpetration were positively related to mental health difficulties and negatively related to social problem-solving skills.