Strong Teens is an evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum designed to target internalizing disorders by promoting emotional resilience and social competence. In this study, Strong Teens was implemented among 36 adolescent girls during group therapy in a residential treatment center (RTC). A non-equivalent, quasi-experimental wait-list control group design was used. The curriculum was evaluated by tracking the girls' social and emotional knowledge, internalizing symptoms, and resilience from the perspectives of the girls, group therapists, and a supervisor who was blind to the study. Although the results indicated that exposure to Strong Teens was not effective in increasing the social and emotional knowledge of the girls, statistically significant reductions in internalizing symptoms and statistically significant gains in resilience were reported. Treatment fidelity checklists were filled out during 31% of the lessons where it was observed that the average lesson time was 30.11 minutes and 62% of the lessons' components implemented with integrity. In addition, group therapists completed a social validity questionnaire after the completion of the lessons in which they agreed with the goals and procedures of the curriculum, were neutral with the outcomes, and generally reported that the curriculum helped the girls facilitate better awareness of linking thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as well as helping them better understand empathy and improved peer interactions. They also indicated that the curriculum was "too basic" and wished it would have had more tailored specifics for their population. It is recommended that future research with this population investigate which SEL topics are most suitable, identify the most favorable lesson time, and explore student perspectives and experiences with Strong Teens.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





social emotional learning, residential treatment, adolescents, internalizing, resilience