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The Social-Emotional Assets
and Resilience Scales (SEARS)

A New Way of Assessing Children's Social and Emotional Behavior

Researchers from the Oregon Resiliency Project at the University of Oregon are developing a new set of strength-based social-emotional assessments for children and adolescents. The Social-Emotional Assets and Resiliency Scales (SEARS) are being designed as cross-informant measures of students' assets and resilience, taking into account problem-solving skills, interpersonal skills, the ability to make and maintain friendships, the ability to cope with adversity, and the ability to be optimistic when faced with adversity. Our goal for these measures is to help move the field of behavioral, social, and emotional assessment more into the realm of strength-based assessment, as a balance to the historical focus on assessing problems or psychopathology. When completed, the SEARS scales are intended to be used for screening, assessment and decision making, intervention planning, intervention monitoring and evaluation, program evaluation, and research. The initiation of the SEARS project was influenced by the positive psychology movement as well as the problem-solving orientation to educational and psychological service delivery.

The cross informant scales of the SEARS system include:

  • SEARS-C: a 35 item self-report measure for students in grades 3 through 6
  • SEARS-A: a 35-item self-report measure for students in grades 7 through 12
  • SEARS-T: a 41-item teacher report rating scale for assessing students
  • SEARS-P: a 39-item parent report rating scale for assessing children and adolescents

Each of the SEARS rating scales includes items related to the following clusters of social-emotional assets: Responsibility, Self-Regulation, Social Competence, and Empathy. The items across the four versions of the system have much in common, but differ according to developmental level, setting for the rating, and context of the rating.

Availability of SEARS Measures

The research and development versions of the SEARS system are no longer available for experimental use. We anticipate that publication and general availability of the scales will occur in September, 2011. The SEARS will be published and distributed by PAR Assessments, one of the most influential and widely-respected publishers of psychological and educational assessment tools. Check the PAR website at www.parinc.com for information regarding availability of SEARS.

SEARS Research Papers and Publications

We are pleased to announce that the first wave of preliminary research studies have been completed, and we now have research papers available regarding the SEARS assessments. These initial studies are preliminary, and we anticipate the subsequent studies and publications will help to further clarify and details the reliability, validity, and clinical and research uses of the scales. We will add to this collection as new studies are completed or current studies are expanded. Click on the active links for the following references for PDF versions of these papers and publications.

Cohn, B., Merrell, K. W., Felver-Grant, J., Tom, K., & Endrulat, N. (2009, February). Strength-based assessment of social and emotional functioning: SEARS-C and SEARS-A. Presented at the Meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Boston.

Endrulat, N. R., Tom, K., & Merrell, K. W. (2009, August). Strength-based assessment: Applications and development of the Social-Emotional Assets and Resilience Scales, parent version. Presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada.

Endrulat, N. R., Tom, K., Ravitch, K., Wesley, K., & Merrell, K. W. (2010, March). Gender differences in positive social emotional functioning. Presented at the meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Chicago.

Felver-Gant, J., & Merrell, K. W. (2009, February). Teacher's ratings of student's assets and resilience: Development of the SEARS-T. Presented at the Meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Boston.

Tom, K., Merrell, K. W., Endrulat, N. R., Cohn, B., & Felver-Gant, J. C. (2009, February). Assessing positive youth characteristics: Development and structure of the SEARS-P. Presented at the Meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Boston.