Improving the socio-emotional health of young people in early secondary education: preliminary findings from a study of the Pyramid intervention project

Michelle Jayman, Madeleine Ohl, Bronach Hughes, Pauline Fox

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Background: The incidence of emotional disorders in children and young people is an escalating concern. Research suggests poor emotional health in adolescence is related to many negative outcomes including loneliness, lack of school adjustment, poor academic performance and mental health issues. The Pyramid project (school-based intervention programme) aims to improve the socio-emotional well-being of vulnerable adolescents. Previous studies with primary-aged children have demonstrated the positive impact of Pyramid programmes on vulnerable children’s social and emotional health (Ohl et al 2008, Ohl et al 2012). Aim(s): To examine the impact of Pyramid interventions on the socio-emotional health of pupils in early secondary education and to explore how programmes bring about change. Methods: The impact of the Pyramid project on twenty-one early-adolescent students was examined through a mixed-methods design including the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (Goodman, 1997) and focus groups with Pyramid group participants and programme leaders. Results: Results from the teacher assessment Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire demonstrated improvements in the intervention group’s socio-emotional competencies compared to a comparison group. A thematic analysis of the qualitative data collected from focus groups supported the quantitative findings and identified potential causal mechanisms facilitating change. Conclusion: Further research is required to develop these preliminary findings and to demonstrate evidence-based practices for enhancing young people’s socio-emotional well-being. These preliminary findings will contribute to future research on a larger cohort and support extending the research to examine the impact on academic performance. Findings have the potential to underpin evidence-based policy and practice in the early adolescent population.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBPS Psychology of Education Conference
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014
EventBPS Psychology of Education Conference - Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Nov 20149 Nov 2014


ConferenceBPS Psychology of Education Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityMilton Keynes

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