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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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.

PROBLEM: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. METHODS: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. FINDINGS: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. CONCLUSIONS: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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