Evaluating the impact of a universal FRIENDS for Life Programme on emotional distress and academic self-perceptions

Paul, Julie (2011) Evaluating the impact of a universal FRIENDS for Life Programme on emotional distress and academic self-perceptions. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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FRIENDS For Life' (Barrett, 2004) is a ten-week programme for children aged 7 - 11 years, based on cognitive behavioural principles, designed to teach coping skills and techniques to manage anxiety and depression. This study describes an evaluation of a universal programme, delivered to a class of Year 5 children in a school in a socio-economically disadvantaged community located in the East of England.

A review of literature, combining narrative and systematic approaches, presents what is known about the development of emotional distress and academic self-perceptions in children, underpinned by the principles of Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1986). Evidence for the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with children is critiqued, with specific attention to the FRIENDS programme delivered as a universal intervention.

A quasi-experimental non-equivalent groups design (intervention group and wait-list control) was employed to evaluate the impact of the programme upon children's levels of emotional distress, their academic self-perceptions and teacher ratings of pupil behaviour. Pre and post-test measures comprised the Paediatric Index of Emotional Distress, (O'Connor et al, 2010), the Myself-As-Learner Scale (Burden, 1998) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (Goodman, 1997).

A change score analysis revealed statistically significant reductions in self-reported levels of emotional distress and teacher-rated hyperactivity for the intervention group in comparison to the control group. Both groups showed significantly improved overall behaviour and prosocial skills. There was no evidence of a significant change between or within groups for academic self-perceptions. The limitations associated with quasi-experimental designs are highlighted, together with the difficulties of operationalising abstract constructs such as 'emotional distress' and 'academic self-concept.'

The results are discussed in relation to the theoretical and methodological implications highlighted in previous chapters. Particular attention is paid to the significance of contextual influences operating in concert with the programme components in mediating outcomes. Implications for future research and the role of the Educational Psychologist supporting universal therapeutic programmes in schools are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Gulliford, A.
Keywords: Distress (Psychology), self-perception in children, Cognitive therapy
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 12978
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2012 11:08
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2017 17:45
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/12978

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