Promoting and building resilience in primary school communities: Evidence from a comprehensive ‘health promoting school’ approach

Stewart, Donald E., Sun, Jing, Patterson, Carla M., Lemerle, Kate A., & Hardie, Michael W. (2004) Promoting and building resilience in primary school communities: Evidence from a comprehensive ‘health promoting school’ approach. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 6(3), pp. 26-31.



This paper reports on the first phase of a multi-strategy health promotion project which uses a whole-school approach to promote resiliency in children of primary school age in school, family and community settings in an urban and rural/remote location in Queensland, Australia. The study population comprised students from Years 3, 5, and 7 (ages 8, 10, 12 years), their parents/care-givers, and staff across 20 primary schools. Evidence emerging from this phase of the project confirms that the school environment makes a major contribution to the development of psychological resilience in children. Schools in which students reported more positive adult and peer social networks and feelings of connectedness to adults and peers, and a strong sense of autonomy were associated with higher self ratings of resiliency in the students. There was also high concurrence by parents and caregivers regarding perceptions of the school environment. These schools rated more highly according to ‘health promoting school’ (HPS) attributes and principles. Characteristics of such schools included features like shared decision-making and planning, community participation, a supportive physical and social environment, good school-community relations, clearly articulated health policies and access to appropriate health services.

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ID Code: 1281
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: mental health, resilience, health promoting school
ISSN: 1462-3730
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Clifford Beers Foundation
Copyright Statement: First published in the International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 6(3):pp. 26-31.
Deposited On: 12 May 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:08

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