Feasibility of an emotional health curriculum for elementary school students in an underserved Hispanic community.
- Author(s): Guo, Yuqing
- Rousseau, Julie
- Renno, Patricia
- Kehoe, Priscilla
- Daviss, Monique
- Flores, Sara
- Saunders, Kathleen
- Phillips, Susanne
- Chin, Mindy
- Evangelista, Lorraine S
- et al.
Hispanic children have greater mental health challenges but fewer received mental health services than other ethnic groups. A classroom-based Emotional Health Curriculum (EHC) was developed to address mental health disparities in an underserved Hispanic community.
A quasi-experimental design with one group pre- and post-intervention was used to test the feasibility of an 8-week EHC for one hundred 3rd and 4th grade children in a dual-immersion Spanish-English elementary school. Limited efficacy was measured by changes in depression and anxiety scores reported by children and teachers. Acceptance was evaluated by a child-reported satisfaction survey and a focus group in which the four teachers shared their experiences. Implementation was measured by participation, retention, and fidelity rates.
The child-reported depression and anxiety and teacher-reported depression were significantly decreased in at-risk children with the effect size ranging from 0.60 to 1.16 (ps < 0.05). The majority of children (89.7%) enjoyed the EHC and teachers observed that children had acquired skills to manage their emotional distress. The participation, retention, and fidelity rates were 98%, 94%, and 99.13%, respectively.
The results provide promising evidence that the EHC has the potential to improve depression and anxiety symptoms in at-risk children.
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