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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Investigating the impact of social-emotional interventions : an evaluation of the "Welcome To My Life" program Hearle, Nikki Jade

Abstract

The transition from elementary school to high school is challenging for many students. High school introduces a more complex social framework, larger student populations, and often higher risk activities. This transition occurs during a developmental period when self-esteem is the lowest for girls, which can make them susceptible to a variety of risk factors (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, and drug use, unsafe sexual practices). The Young Women Christian Association (YWCA), in collaboration with the Vancouver School Board (VSB), developed a 6-8 week, after-school program called Welcome To My Life (WTML) to prepare Grade 7 girls for this transition. The goal of this thesis was to work in partnership with program developers to conduct an evaluation of the WTML program, informed by research on program evaluation within the area of social and emotional learning. To this end, 42 Grade 7 girls at two program sites, 12 who participated in the WTML program and 30 who did not, completed self-report surveys tapping self-concept/self-esteem (Self Description Questionnaire-II) as well as perceived developmental assets (Developmental Assets Profile) both before and after the program. Results of analyses comparing the self-reports of students who did participate in the WTML program with those who did not indicated no significant program effects. Changes in reported self-esteem/self-concept and perceived positive assets were in the expected direction, but were not significant. The general failure to demonstrate treatment effects may be attributed to a number of limitations of the current evaluation project, including the small sample size and the limited time frame considered. Nevertheless, evaluations of participant satisfaction, based on surveys obtained from 8 program facilitators and 22 participants indicated that program facilitators felt appropriately trained and that the program was positively received by students. As well, evaluations of implementation integrity, based on surveys completed by 8 program facilitators indicated that the program was well-implemented. Thus, the WTML program holds promise as a means of preparing Grade 7 girls for the transition to secondary school, and should be further evaluated with a larger and more representative sample. Suggestions for further development of the program and effective collaboration efforts are provided.

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