Nakayama, N. J. (2008). An investigation of the impact of the Strong Kids curriculum on social-emotional knowledge and symptoms of elementary aged students in a self-contained special education setting. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Oregon, Eugene.




This study examined the effect of Strong Kids for Grades 3-5, a social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum, among a sample of 21 third, fourth, and fifth graders with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBDs) who received instruction in self-contained special education classrooms. All students received the Strong Kids intervention and completed questionnaires on SEL knowledge (Strong Kids Knowledge Test), emotional-behavioral problem symptoms (Strong Kids Symptoms Test), and perceived social skills (Social Skills Rating System-Student Form) across 3 assessment periods (Pretest 1, Pretest 2, and Posttest). The classroom teachers completed a social skills and problem behaviors questionnaire (Social Skills Rating System-Teacher Form) on each student at Pretest 2 and Posttest assessment periods as well as a survey on their perceptions of using Strong Kids. The classroom teachers implemented the Strong Kids’ 12 weekly lessons as part of their classroom instruction. Results of this study indicated positive gains in SEL knowledge, as evidenced by statistically significant gains from pretest to posttest. A meaningful difference in students’ self-reported positive social-emotional skills was determined, with students reporting more skills after participation in Strong Kids. No significant effects of participation in Strong Kids were determined for emotional-behavioral problem symptoms or teacher perceptions of students’ social skills and problem behaviors. Teachers’ overall perceptions of the curriculum were that it was feasible, appropriate and valuable enough that they planned to continue to use Strong Kids in their self-contained classrooms. Implications of this study for educational practice in SEL with students with EBDs and future research efforts in this area are discussed.