Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 707–720

Intervention to Strengthen Emotional Self-Regulation in Children with Emerging Mental Health Problems: Proximal Impact on School Behavior

  • Peter A. Wyman
  • Wendi Cross
  • C. Hendricks Brown
  • Qin Yu
  • Xin Tu
  • Shirley Eberly
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10802-010-9398-x

Cite this article as:
Wyman, P.A., Cross, W., Hendricks Brown, C. et al. J Abnorm Child Psychol (2010) 38: 707. doi:10.1007/s10802-010-9398-x

Abstract

A model for teaching children skills to strengthen emotional self-regulation is introduced, informed by the developmental concept of scaffolding. Adult modeling/instruction, role-play and in vivo coaching are tailored to children’s level of understanding and skill to promote use of skills in reallife contexts. Two-hundred twenty-six kindergarten—3rd grade children identified with elevated behavioral and social classroom problems from a population-based screening participated in a waitlisted randomized trial of the Rochester Resilience Project derived from this model. In 14 lessons with school-based mentors, children were taught a hierarchical set of skills: monitoring of emotions; selfcontrol/ reducing escalation of emotions; and maintaining control and regaining equilibrium. Mentors provided classroom reinforcement of skill use. Multi-level modeling accounting for the nesting of children in schools and classrooms showed the following effects at post-intervention: reduced problems rated by teachers in behavior control, peer social skills, shy-withdrawn and off-task behaviors (ES 0.31–0.47). Peer social skills improved for girls but not for boys. Children receiving the intervention had a 46% mean decrease in disciplinary referrals and a 43% decrease in suspensions during the 4-month intervention period. Limitations and future directions to promote skill transfer are discussed.

Keywords

Emotion self-regulationSchool-based interventionExternalizingInternalizing problemsRandomized controlled trial

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter A. Wyman
    • 1
  • Wendi Cross
    • 1
  • C. Hendricks Brown
    • 2
  • Qin Yu
    • 3
  • Xin Tu
    • 3
  • Shirley Eberly
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Rochester School of Medicine and DentistryRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Center for Family Studies, Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biostatistics and Computational BiologyUniversity of Rochester School of Medicine and DentistryRochesterUSA