Many adults suffering from mental health problems often report that the onset of these concerns began in adolescence, highlighting the importance of identifying and treating mental health concerns from an early age. In high schools, some students are identified as having externalizing or internalizing disorders. The majority of these students, especially those with internalizing symptoms, go untreated. One potential reason may be that limited school resources are used to correct behavior problems, leaving those with internalizing disorders to silently suffer, which often exacerbates the issues. Recent research suggests many individuals have high levels of resilience which can be taught, and which positively contributes to mental health. Social emotional learning (SEL) is one approach to teaching resilience. In this study we implemented an SEL program called Strong Teens at the high school level. The high school identified students with internalizing symptoms and provided them with this curriculum, intended to reduce those symptoms. We used a time series design to evaluate changes in internalizing symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, and withdrawal) and resilience. Results indicated that with the implementation of the Strong Teens curriculum, student levels of internalizing symptoms decreased from pretest to posttest, according to self-report. Teacher reports did not indicate any significant change in internalizing symptoms or resilience. This study supports the findings o fthe Strong Teens curriculum as a generalizable program which significantly reduces internalizing symptoms.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


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internalizing symptoms, resilience, Strong Teens, high school