Peer-Reviewed Articles

Cramer, K. M., & Castro-Olivo, S. (2016) Effects of a culturally adapted social-emotional learning intervention program on students’ mental health. Contemporary School Psychology, 20(2), 118-129.

Meyers, A. B., & Hickey, A. M. (2014). Multilevel prospective dynamics in school-based social and emotional learning programs. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 13(2), 218-231,

The two peer-reviewed articles I have chosen, investigate the characteristics of social and emotional learning intervention programs. Cramer’s and Castro-Olivo’s article offers an interesting approach to social and emotional learning through the lens of cultural impacts and mental health of students. The effects of a culturally adapted program are discussed. The article introduces how culturally diverse students often face unique challenges which may lead to a higher likelihood of developing mental health problems than others. The writers claim that culturally adapted interventions are more effective than regular social and emotional learning programs. Reports of social and emotional problems made by students were looked at to analyze the impact of culturally adapted programs. Data was collected from 20 culturally and linguistically diverse high school students. Every participant completed a 12-lesson social and emotional learning intervention program.

It is agreed that social and emotional learning has several core components. The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional-Learning (CASEL) describes these core aspects as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. These five mentioned core areas serve as a combination of both social skills and the individual process of this development.

Social and Emotional learning intervention has been utilized for several different reasons. One includes bullying prevention. It was found that a program outlining a social and emotional program correlated with “reduced levels of aggression, increased pro-social behavior, and improved academic engagement” (Cramer & Castro-Olivo, 2016). Connecting back to this article’s emphasis on culturally diverse students, it is found that ethnic minorities tend to face more challenges when interacting with mainstream culture. For instance, perceived discrimination, low socioeconomic status, low sense of school belonging, and acculturative stress exist. All these challenges highlight the importance of adjusting and adapting social and emotional intervention programs to the individual. Back to the current study described, cultural adaptations were made through different dimensions. At the end of the study, student resiliency was promoted while social validity and treatment was accepted by the students. All participants agreed that social and emotional learning skills were important to learn and are advantageous to their academic performance.

The second article by Meyers and Hickey delves into the multilevel prospective dynamics found in social and emotional learning programs based in schools. These programs are “aimed at improving children’s social functioning and preventing emotional and behavioral difficulties” (Meyers & Hickey, 2014). These authors offer an interesting discussion surrounding varying pedagogical approaches in accordance to focus on the individual’s development and contextual changes. Similar to the first piece of writing, it observes social and emotional educational programming as a design to “facilitate academic success by improving classroom climates, peer relationships, and children’s self-regulation” (Meyers & Hickey, 2014). Once again reflecting the ideas discussed in the first article, it offers the importance of promoting the five core areas of social and emotional learning. However, it sets up the broad groups of primary prevention. These are described as person-centered or skills-focused and systems-level or environment-focused. The observed effects of the social and emotional learning strategies behind both types of prevention consist of improved academic performance, decreased behavioral problems, and decreased emotional distress. Overall, both articles highlight the impacts of social and emotional learning intervention on factors such as classroom dynamics, peer response to bullying, and students’ perceptions of school climate.