PATHS in Croatia: A school‐based randomised‐controlled trial of a social and emotional learning curriculum

Miranda Novak, Josipa Mihić, Josipa Bašić, Robert L. Nix
Published Online:
29 Feb 2016
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 52 Issue 2

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This study represents the first rigorous evaluation of a social‐emotional learning curriculum, PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies; Kusché & Greenberg, 1994), in elementary schools in Croatia. This study randomly assigned 29 schools to receive the universal preventive intervention or continue with usual practices. Within those schools, this study included 57 classrooms and 568 children. Teachers rated nine child behaviours in the middle of first grade (pre‐intervention) and near the end of second grade (post‐intervention). Hierarchical linear models, nesting children within classrooms, revealed few changes in behaviour across the sample as a whole or among higher risk children. However, there were changes on eight of the nine behaviours for lower risk children. The findings are considered in the context of the classroom culture and teachers' preparation and readiness to implement a social‐emotional learning curriculum in Croatia. This study highlights the need to supplement universal preventive interventions with selective preventive interventions that can provide more intensive and targeted skill practice for higher risk children. This study also highlights the nuanced effects of a universal preventive intervention in helping different children in different ways.

© 2016 International Union of Psychological Science