Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Summer 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Patricia Warner

Tammy Gilligan

Deborah Kipps-Vaughan


Research has supported the impact of social-emotional skills on learning and on a student’s ability to access classroom instruction, including the presence of a positive association between optimism and academic success. Students with disabilities are likely to experience high levels of negative experiences in school during social interactions and academic instruction. This study endeavored to build upon the previous research supporting the benefits of administering the Strong Kids curriculum in addition to specifically assessing the utility of the program’s use by teachers working with students with learning disabilities. However, this study was not implemented as originally proposed with fewer sessions of the program and younger participants included. Analysis of the results showed a slight increase between the overall mean of pre-intervention optimism scores (M = 3.20, SD = 3.63) and post-intervention optimism scores (M = 3.60, SD = 3.5). Analysis showed a decrease between the overall mean of pre-intervention classroom performance scores (M = 41.40, SD = 1.52) and post-intervention classroom performance scores (M = 37.80, SD = 2.95); t(5) = 4.13, p = 0.01. Results suggest the importance of implementing the Strong Start curriculum with fidelity to the original design of the program.

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Psychology Commons