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Feasibility of an emotional health curriculum for elementary school students in an underserved Hispanic community.



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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