The Efficacy of the Enhanced Aussie Optimism Positive Thinking Skills Program in Improving Social and Emotional Learning in Middle Childhood
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The aim of the current study was to investigate the effects of the modified and enhanced Aussie Optimism Positive Thinking Skills Program (AO-PTS) on Year 4 and 5 children’s social and emotional learning (SEL) skills. AO-PTS is a universal-school based program that is implemented by class teachers as part of regular school curricula and was developed for the prevention of depression and anxiety. The study comprised a total of 683 Year 4 and 5 students from 10 private primary schools in Western Australia. Students were assessed on two subscales of emotional attribution at school whilst parents reported on their children’s externalising and internalising problems outside of school and at home. Two analyses were conducted: seven intervention schools were assessed at pre- and post-test (Analysis 1) and three intervention schools matched with three control schools were compared and assessed respectively (Analysis 2). Results from Analysis 1 showed that the intervention children had increased in their overall emotional attribution accuracy and decreased in total difficulties and hyperactivity; Results from Analysis 2 revealed no intervention effect on emotional attribution accuracy or internalising or externalising problems. These findings suggest that the enhanced AO-PTS’s effects on SEL were not evident in short-term period after intervention. Discussion of the non-significant findings and future directions for AO-PTS research and program modification were discussed.
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