Building resiliency in children through a small group counseling intervention
Griffith, Karen Gannon
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School counselors need effective interventions, both in terms of student change and counselor use of time. Student change needs to be tied to the overall mission of the school, as well as the affective domain. This study examined the effectiveness of a small group intervention designed around the traits of resiliency that addressed a variety of problems, facilitating effective time use. To maintain the connection to school goals, student change was measured in terms of academic grades, school behavior, and school-going behavior. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) measured change in students’ emotionality, behavior, and social competence. A twelve-session group intervention was implemented by two professional school counselors with 59 students in fourth and fifth grades divided into ten small groups. Students were invited based on demonstrated problems with academic grades, discipline or conduct, or excessive school absences. The study was conducted in a large suburban elementary school in the southeast during the first semester of the school year. Based on a comparison of means, statistically significant changes were noted in school behavior, school attendance, and in areas measured by the SDQ. In addition, practical significance was evident in grades for those students with academic concerns.