Primary classroom teachers' use of social and emotional wellbeing programs and the factors influencing program use

Macaulay, Clare Maree (2008) Primary classroom teachers' use of social and emotional wellbeing programs and the factors influencing program use. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


There has been a rapid escalation in the development and evaluation of social and emotional well-being (SEW) programs in primary schools over the last few decades. Despite the plethora of programs available, primary teachers’ use of SEW programs is not well documented in Australian schools, with even less consideration of the factors influencing program use. A cross-sectional survey was undertaken with primary classroom teachers across twelve schools in the Brisbane and Sunshine Coast Education Districts in Queensland, Australia, during 2005. A checklist of SEW programs and an audit of SEW practices in schools were employed to investigate the number, range and types of SEW programs used by primary classroom teachers and the contextual factors influencing program use. Whilst the majority of implementation studies have been conducted under intervention conditions, this study was designed to capture primary classroom teachers’ day-to-day use of SEW programs and the factors influencing program use under real-world conditions.

The findings of this research indicate that almost three quarters of the primary classroom teachers involved in the study reported using at least one SEW program during 2005. Wide variation in the number and range of programs used was evident, suggesting that teachers are autonomous in their use of SEW programs. Evidence-based SEW programs were used by a similar proportion of teachers to non-evidence-based programs. However, irrespective of the type of program used, primary teachers overwhelmingly reported using part of a SEW program rather than the whole program. This raises some issues about the quality of teachers’ program implementation in real-world practice, especially with respect to programs that are evidence-based.

A content analysis revealed that a wide range of factors have been examined as potential influences on teachers’ implementation of health promotion programs in schools, including SEW programs, despite the limited number of studies undertaken to date. However, variation in the factors examined and study designs employed both within and across health promotion fields limited the extent to which studies could be compared. A methodological and statistical review also revealed substantial variation in the quality of reporting of studies.

A variety of factors were examined as potential influences on primary classroom teachers’ use of SEW programs across multiple social-ecological levels of influence (ranging from community to school and individual levels). In this study, parent or caregiver involvement in class activities and the availability of wellbeing-related policies in primary schools were found to be influential in primary classroom teachers’ use of SEW programs. Teachers who often or always involve parents or caregivers in class activities were at a higher odds of program use relative to teachers who never or rarely involved parents or caregivers in class activities. However, teachers employed in schools with the highest number of wellbeing-related policies available were at a lower odds of program use relative to teachers employed in schools with fewer wellbeing-related policies available.

Future research should investigate primary classroom teachers’ autonomy and motivations for using SEW programs and the reasons behind the selection and use of particular types of programs. A larger emphasis should also be placed upon teachers not using SEW programs to identify valid reasons for non-use. This would provide another step towards bridging the gap between the expectations of program developers and the needs of teachers who implement programs in practice. Additionally, the availability of wellbeing-related school policies and the types of activities that parents and caregivers are involved with in the classroom warrant more in-depth investigation. This will help to ascertain how and why these factors influence primary classroom teachers’ use of SEW programs on a day-to-day basis in schools.

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ID Code: 60977
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Parker, Elizabeth, Battistutta, Diana, & Campbell, Marilyn
Keywords: factors influencing program use, primary school, program use, school mental health promotion, social emotional wellbeing, social emotional wellbeing programs
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 27 Jun 2013 06:48
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:47

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