Measuring the socioemotional impact of community dance amongst underprivileged ethnic minority youth
: a quasi-experimental, mixed method approach

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Currently, there is a gap in youth-centred dance research using experimental designs, quantitative, and mixed methodologies in the UK. The gap widens in dance research on socioemotional traits and research involving ethnic minority populations. This study examines the effectiveness of dance as an agent for social emotional learning (SEL) for underprivileged ethnic minority youth using a quasi- experimental, mixed-method approach. Specifically, this study aims to investigate whether a causal link could be drawn between dance and improved self-esteem, social self-efficacy, social strengths and difficulties, and collaboration. Participants who completed community-based dance classes in London, UK over 12-weeks were compared to a non-participating control group. Quantitative assessments included the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the Self-Efficacy Questionnaire for Children, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, and the Ana Fragoso Dance Collaboration Rubric. Quantitative data was analysed using statistical techniques to detect changes and estimate causal effects. Qualitative data from class observations, focus groups, and semi-structured interviews was analysed to elucidate their experiences and explain potential changes in SEL. All data were triangulated to determine the socioemotional impact of dance on participants. The global pandemic reduced the sample size and subjected the control group to differential social conditions which diminished statistical power and impacted control group results. Despite these issues, there were significant quantitative improvements in the dance group's self-esteem and total SDQ scores in comparison to the control group. The dance group demonstrated insignificant improvements in hyperactivity/inattention subscale scores. Qualitative results revealed that participants experienced expanded perspectives, positive changes in selfbelief and self-understanding, and increased focus in dance classes and school. Quantitative results for social self-efficacy improved but not significantly, and qualitative findings suggest participants gained overall confidence and saw improved abilities to socialise, make friends, overcome shyness, and perform in front of others. Apart from increased collaboration, there were no substantial quantitative or qualitative improvements in prosocial behaviours or peer problems.
Date of Award9 May 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorSara Houston (Director of Studies) & Bryony Hoskins (Co-Supervisor)


  • Dance
  • Rosenberg self-esteem scale
  • SEQ-C
  • dance research
  • SDQ
  • social self-efficacy
  • community dance
  • self-esteem
  • youth,
  • ethnic minority youth
  • social and emotional learning
  • global majority populations
  • ethnic minorities

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