Dissemination of social and emotional health promotion programs to U.S. K-12 public schools




Wintner, Suzanne, “Dissemination of social and emotional health promotion programs to U.S. K-12 public schools,” Scholar@Simmons, accessed January 16, 2021, http://beatleyweb.simmons.edu/scholar/items/show/156.


Dissemination of social and emotional health promotion programs to U.S. K-12 public schools


Wintner, Suzanne




Children and adolescents frequently face social and emotional challenges, yet schools commonly struggle to adequately address their needs. Given the range of negative sequelae (e.g. emotional, occupational) associated with poor mental and social health in childhood and adolescence, more effective intervention and prevention measures are needed. Increasing numbers of U.S. public schools are adopting social and emotional health promotion (SEHP) programs, such as social and emotional learning (SEL) and school climate programs, to address students’ whole-child wellness needs. The extent of school-based SEHP program dissemination is unknown, and factors contributing to schools’ SEHP program adoption decisions have been little studied. This three-study dissertation identified types of SEHP programs implemented in U.S. K-12 public schools during the 2015-6 school year and explored factors influencing school adoption decisions at administrator, school, and state levels. SEHP programming data for the study come from a 2016 nationwide survey of U.S. K-12 public school principals. Additional data come from the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and other publicly available sources. In study one, regression analyses revealed that presence of SEHP programming was positively associated with administrator concerns about student social skills, and inversely associated with concerns about student exposure to violence and safety in the school environment. Qualitative analyses identified the importance in SEHP program adoption decisions of school community buy-in, implementation fidelity, financial resources, and time. Study two explored associations between SEHP program adoption and school and student factors. Study findings suggested that schools with higher pupil-teacher ratios and schools with higher proportions of white non-Hispanic students were more likely to adopt SEHP programming. Study three explored associations between school adoption of evidence-based SEHP programs and state-level department of education funding and policy. The study found that schools in states with better education funding adequacy and equity were more likely than schools in states with lower education funding adequacy and equity to adopt evidence-based SEHP programs. This dissertation shows that promoting student social and emotional health is a norm in U.S. K-12 public schools and explores barriers and facilitators to the adoption of SEHP and evidence-based SEHP.


Simmons College (Boston, Mass.)


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Doctoral Dissertations