Session: Designing and Testing Research- Based Social- Emotional Learning Programs: Lessons from Think Equal, Paths, and Second Step (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

3-051 Designing and Testing Research- Based Social- Emotional Learning Programs: Lessons from Think Equal, Paths, and Second Step

Thursday, May 30, 2019: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Seacliff A (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
Theme: Development and Testing of Interventions
Symposium Organizer:
Jasmine Williams
Dorothy Espelage
Universal social-emotional learning (SEL) programs for youth have demonstrated sustained positive effects on social skills and attitudes, academic performance, and problem behaviors (Sklad, Diekstra, De Ritter, & Ben, 2012; Taylor, Oberle, Durlak, & Weissberg, 2017). Three key factors contributing to the effectiveness of SEL programs are developmental appropriateness, contextual relevance, and high- quality implementation. The goal of this session is to describe insights learned regarding these factors from the development and testing of three research-based SEL programs – Think Equal, PATHS, and Second Step. This symposium supports the conference’s mission by bringing together researchers utilizing a range of methods, including multi-level statistical analysis, observations, and focus groups to better understand how to support the social-emotional well-being of children across the globe.

Paper 1 focuses on how research is used in the development and continuous improvement processes of Second Step programs for youth in out-of-school time and middle school contexts. In particular, this paper highlights the importance of using research to engage stakeholders throughout the program development and continuous improvement processes.

Paper 2 reports on findings from a multi-country randomized control trial of an SEL program, Think Equal, for preschool-aged youth. The international scope of the work provides a global perspective on the efficacy of SEL interventions for promoting positive youth outcomes and highlights important considerations for fidelity across cultural contexts.

Paper 3 adds to the emerging field of implementation science by utilizing HLM techniques to examine key implementation factors at the school and individual level. This longitudinal study of PATHS implementation offers a unique, robust approach to understanding how the ecology of implementation influences child outcomes.

Together these papers provide a comprehensive view of the development and testing of interventions- from the early stages of program development, to international adaptation and adoption, and testing of multi-year implementation. The symposium will conclude with a discussant highlighting connections across the papers and suggesting directions for future research.

Jasmine Williams
Committee for Children: employer

* noted as presenting author