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A study conducted in London from 2010 to 2011 in a secondary girls-only state school found that the SPARK Resilience Program helped prevent depression and increase self-reported resilience in girls 11-12 years old.
The study led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) looked at over 400 girls reports on their resilience and depression symptoms throughout the study. The SPARK Resilence Program gave students the tools to identify stressful situations and learn how to control negative behavior reactions.
SPARK, the acronym behind the program stands for how children can break down their responses to stressful situations and be taught by teachers to their students using the five components: Situation, Perception, Autopilot, Reaction, and Knowledge.
School interventions are a perfect setting for health and education to work together, especially for minority populations like Latinas that are dealing with additional stressors like gender role discrepancy and discrimination. In fact, studies show Latina adolescents have the highest rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempt compared to their peers.
“Rather than focusing on preventing psychological problems in a few students, this program aims at strengthening the psychological resilience of all children,” Dr. Pluess, first author of the AMUL’s study told Medical Press.
When schools and families work together for the health of the whole child they also empower key stakeholders in the responsibility and purpose of education.
“This research shows that it is possible to promote psychological well-being in middle childhood through an integrated school-based intervention program informed by concepts of positive psychology and cognitive behavioural therapy.” Pluess said.