Assessing SEP Efficacy at the Classroom Level: Effects on Children’s Social-Emotional Competencies and Behavior Problems

  • Catrinel Alice Ştefan


The current chapter focuses on investigating the efficacy of the Social-Emotional Prevention Program (SEP) at the classroom level. This study reports intervention related outcomes from a multi-rater and multi-instrument perspective. The outcomes include parent and teacher rated social-emotional competencies and externalizing problems, as well as children’s self-reported knowledge about emotion recognition and problem-solving. The obtained results indicate that SEP is effective in eliciting changes compared to the control group across a wide range of children’s adaptive and maladaptive behaviors. Moreover, these results obtained in the context of 4 short parent group training sessions which elicited a relatively high parental attendance rate (54%) add to evidence suggesting that such an approach is sustainable in community-based interventions.


  1. Bennett, D. S., Bendersky, M., & Lewis, M. (2005). Antecedents of emotion knowledge: Predictors of individual differences in young children. Cognition and Emotion, 19, 375–396. Scholar
  2. Bickel, R. (2007). Multilevel regression growth models. In Multilevel analysis for applied research (pp. 285–329). New York: Guilford Publications.Google Scholar
  3. Brotman, L. M., Gouley, K. K., Chesir-Teran, D., Dennis, T., Klein, R. G., & Shrout, P. (2005). Prevention for preschoolers at high risk for conduct problems: Immediate outcomes on parenting practices and child social competence. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 724–734. Scholar
  4. Calkins, S. D., & Dedmon, S. E. (2000). Psychological and behavioral regulation in two-year-old children with aggressive/destructive behavior problems. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 28, 103–118. Scholar
  5. Calkins, S. D., & Fox, N. A. (2002). Self-regulatory processes in early personality development: A multilevel approach to the study of childhood social withdrawal and aggression. Development and Psychopathology, 14, 477–498. Scholar
  6. Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (1999a). Initial impact of the Fast Track prevention trial for conduct problems: I. The high risk sample. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 631–647. Scholar
  7. Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (1999b). Initial impact of the fast track prevention trial for conduct problems: II. Classroom effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 648–657.
  8. Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2002). Evaluation of the first 3 years of the fast track prevention trial with children at high risk for adolescent conduct problems. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 30, 19–35.
  9. Conroy, M. A., Stichter, J. P., Daunic, A., & Haydon, T. (2008). Classroom-based research in the field of emotional and behavioral disorders: Methodological issues and future research directions. Journal of Special Education, 41, 209–222. Scholar
  10. Coplan, R. J., Prakash, K., O’Neil, K., & Armer, M. (2004). Do you “want” to play? Distinguishing between conflicted shyness and social disinterest in early childhood. Developmental Psychology, 40, 244–258. Scholar
  11. Dadds, M. R., & Roth, J. H. (2008). Prevention of anxiety disorders: Results of a universal trial with young children. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 17, 320–335. Scholar
  12. Denham, S. A. (1986). Social cognition, social behavior, and emotion in preschoolers: Contextual validation. Child Development, 57, 194–201. Scholar
  13. Denham, S. A., Blair, K. A., Schmidt, M. S., Blair, K., DeMulder, E., Caal, S., et al. (2003). Preschool understanding of emotions: Contributions to classroom anger and aggression. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43, 901–916. Scholar
  14. Denham, S. A., & Burton, R. (2003). Social and emotional prevention and intervention programming for preschoolers. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Denham, S. A., Mason, T., Caverly, S., Schmidt, M., Hackney, R., Caswell, C., & DeMulder, E. (2001). Preschoolers at play: Co-socializers of emotional and social competence. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 25, 90–101. Scholar
  16. Dishion, T. J., McCord, J., & Poulin, F. (1999). When interventions harm: Peer groups and problem behaviors. American Psychologist, 54, 755–764. Scholar
  17. Domitrovich, C. E., Cortes, R. C., & Greenberg, M. T. (2007). Improving young children’s social and emotional competence: A randomized trial of the preschool “PATHS” curriculum. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 28, 67–91. Scholar
  18. Domitrovich, C. E., Bradshaw, C. P., Greenberg, M. T., Embry, D., Poduska, J. M., & Ialongo, N. S. (2010). Integrated models of school-based prevention: Logic and theory. Psychology in the Schools, 47(1), 71–88. Scholar
  19. Eisenberg, N., Valiente, C., Morris, A. S., Fabes, R. A., Cumberland, A., & Reiser, M. (2003). Longitudinal relations among parental emotional expressivity, children’s regulation, and quality of socioemotional function. Developmental Psychology, 39, 3–19.
  20. Fabes, R. A., Gaertner, M. B., & Popp, T. K. (2006). Getting along with others: Social competence in early childhood. In K. M. D. Phillips (Ed.), Handbook of early childhood development (pp. 297–315). Malden: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  21. Filcheck, H. A., McNeil, C. B., Greco, L. A., & Bernard, R. S. (2004). Using a whole-class token economy and coaching of teacher skills in a preschool classroom to manage disruptive behavior. Psychology in the Schools, 4, 351–361. Scholar
  22. Gilliom, M., Shaw, D. S., Beck, J. E., Schonberg, M. A., & Lukon, J. L. (2002). Anger regulation in disadvantaged preschool boys: Strategies, antecedents, and the development of self-control. Developmental Psychology, 38, 222–235. Scholar
  23. Gresham, F. M., & Elliott, S. N. (1990). Social Skills Rating System. Circle Pines: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  24. Hill, A. L., Degnan, K. A., Calkins, S. A., & Keane, S. P. (2006). Profiles of externalizing behavior problems for boys and girls across preschool: The roles of emotion regulation and inattention. Developmental Psychology, 42, 913–928. Scholar
  25. Hughes, J. N., Cavell, T. M., Meehan, B. T., Zhang, D., & Collie, C. (2005). Adverse school context moderates the outcomes of selective interventions for aggressive children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 731–736. Scholar
  26. Izard, C. E. (2002). Translating emotion theory and research into preventive interventions. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 796–824. Scholar
  27. Izard, C. E., King, K. A., Trentacosta, C. J., Morgan, J. K., Laurenceau, J. P., Krauthamer-Ewing, E. S., & Finlon, K. J. (2008). Accelerating the development of emotion competence on Head Start children: Effects on adaptive and maladaptive behavior. Development and Psychopathology, 20, 369–397. Scholar
  28. Kam, C.-M., Greenberg, M. T., & Walls, C. T. (2003). Examining the role of implementation quality in school-based prevention using the PATHS curriculum. Prevention Science, 4, 55–63. Scholar
  29. LaFreniere, P. J., & Dumas, J. E. (1995). Social competence and behavior evaluation (Preschool ed.). Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  30. Lewis, T. J., & Sugai, G. (1999). Effective behavior support: A system approach to proactive schoolwide management. Focus on Exceptional Children, 31, 1–24.Google Scholar
  31. Lloyd, J. E. V., & Zumbo, B. D. (2007). The non-parametric difference score: A workable solution for analysing two-wave change when the measures themselves change across waves. Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods, 6, 413–420. Scholar
  32. Lochman, J. E., & Wells, K. C. (2002). The Coping Power program at the middle-school transition: Universal and indicated prevention effects. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 16, S40–S54. Scholar
  33. Lopez, M. L., Tartullo, L. B., Forness, S. R., & Boyce, C. A. (2000). Early identification and intervention: Head Start’s response to mental health challenges. Early Education and Development, 11, 265–282.
  34. Miclea, M., Bălaj, A., Porumb, M., Porumb, D., & Porumb, S. (2010). PEDa: The developmental assessment platform for 3-6/7 year old children. Cluj-Napoca: ASCR Publishing. Scholar
  35. Nelson, G., Westhues, A., & MacLeod, J. (2003). A meta-analysis of longitudinal research on preschool prevention programs for children. Prevention and Treatment, 6, 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Owens, E. B., & Shaw, D. S. (2003). Predictive growth curves of externalizing behavior across the preschool years. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31, 575–590. Scholar
  37. Prinz, R. J., & Sanders, M. R. (2007). Adopting a population-level approach to parenting and family support interventions. Clinical Psychology Review, 27, 739–749. Scholar
  38. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Scholar
  39. Raver, C. C., Jones, S. M., Li-Grining, C., Zhai, F., Metzger, M. W., & Solomon, B. (2009). Targeting children’s behavior problems in preschool classrooms: A cluster-randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77, 302–316. Scholar
  40. Roberts, W., & Strayer, J. (1996). Empathy, emotional expressiveness, and prosocial behavior. Child Development, 67, 449–470. Scholar
  41. Schultz, D., Izard, C. E., Ackerman, B. P., & Youngstrom, E. A. (2001). Emotion knowledge in economically disadvantaged children: Self-regulatory antecedents and relations to social difficulties and withdrawal. Development and Psychopathology, 13, 53–67. Scholar
  42. Shure, M. B. (1997). Interpersonal cognitive problem-solving: Primary prevention of early high-risk behaviors in the preschool and primary years. In G. W. Albee & T. P. Gullotta (Eds.), Primary prevention works (pp. 167–188). Thousand Oaks: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Shure, M. B., & Spivak, G. (1982). Interpersonal problem-solving in young children: A cognitive approach to prevention. American Journal of Community Psychology, 10, 341–356. Scholar
  44. Snyder, J., Schrepferman, L., Oeser, J., Patterson, G., Stoolmiller, M., Johnson, K., & Snyder, A. (2005). Deviancy training and association with deviant peers in young children: Occurrence and contribution to early-onset conduct problems. Development and Psychopathology, 17, 397–413. Scholar
  45. Spinrad, T. L., Eisenberg, N., Harris, E., Hanish, L., Fabes, R. A., Kupanoff, K., et al. (2004). The relation of children’s everyday nonsocial peer play behavior to their emotionality, regulation, and social functioning. Developmental Psychology, 40, 67–80. Scholar
  46. Stoolmiller, M., Eddy, M., & Reid, J. B. (2000). Detecting and describing preventive intervention effects in a universal school-based randomized trial targeting delinquent and violent behavior. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 296–306. Scholar
  47. Ştefan, C. A., Bălaj, A., Porumb, M., Albu, M., & Miclea, M. (2009). Preschool screening for social and emotional competencies – Development and psychometric properties. Cognition, Brain, Behavior. An Interdisciplinary Journal, 13, 121–146.Google Scholar
  48. Tottenham, N., Borscheid, A., Ellertsen, K., Marcus, D. J., & Nelson, C. A. (2002, April). Categorization of facial expressions in children and adults: Establishing a larger stimulus set. Poster presented at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society annual meeting, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  49. Turner, K. M. T., & Sanders, M. R. (2006). Dissemination of evidence-based parenting and family support strategies: Learning from the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program system approach. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 11, 176–193. Scholar
  50. van Lier, P. A. C., Vuijk, P., & Crijnen, A. A. M. (2005). Understanding mechanisms of change and development of antisocial behavior: The impact of a universal intervention. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33, 521–535. Scholar
  51. Warnes, E. D., Sheridan, S. M., Geske, J., & Warnes, W. A. (2005). A contextual approach to the assessment of social skills: Identifying meaningful behaviors for social competence. Psychology in the Schools, 42, 173–187. Scholar
  52. Webster-Stratton, C. (1990). Long-term follow-up of families with young conduct-problem children: From preschool to grade school. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 19, 1344–1349.Google Scholar
  53. Webster-Stratton, C., & Hammond, M. (1997). Treating children with early-onset conduct problems: A comparison of child and parent training interventions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65, 93–109. Scholar
  54. Webster-Stratton, C., & Reid, J. M. (2003). Treating conduct problems and strengthening social and emotional competence in young children: The Dina Dinosaur Program. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 2, 130–143. Scholar
  55. Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, J. M., & Hammond, M. (2001). Preventing conduct problems, promoting social competence: A parent-teacher training partnership in Head Start. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 30, 283–302. Scholar
  56. Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, J. M., & Hammond, M. (2004). Treating children with early-onset conduct problems: Intervention outcomes for parent, child, and teacher training. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33, 105–124. Scholar
  57. Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J., & Stoolmiller, M. (2008). Preventing conduct problems and improving school readiness: Evaluation of the Incredible Years teacher and child training programs in high-risk schools. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49, 471–488. Scholar
  58. Webster-Stratton, C., & Taylor, T. (2001). Nipping early risk factors in the bud: Preventing substance abuse, delinquency, and violence in adolescence through interventions targeted at young children (0–8 years). Prevention Science, 2, 165–192. Scholar
  59. Widen, S. C., & Russell, J. A. (2002). Gender and preschoolers’ perception of emotion. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 48, 248–262. Scholar
  60. Widen, S. C., & Russell, J. A. (2003). A closer look at preschoolers’ freely produced labels for facial expressions. Developmental Psychology, 39, 114–128. Scholar
  61. Zubrick, S. R., Ward, K. A., Silburn, S. R., Lawrence, D., Williams, A. A., Blair, E., et al. (2005). Prevention of child behavior problems through universal implementation of a group behavioral family intervention. Prevention Science, 6, 176–193. Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catrinel Alice Ştefan
    • 1
  1. 1.Babeș-Bolyai UniversityCluj-NapocaRomania

Personalised recommendations