Application and review of a strength-based program in classrooms with behavior disordered children
Welsh, Jennifer Lynn
Master of Arts
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The strength perspective of psychology involves focusing on an individual’s resources rather than weaknesses. Recent studies have found that enhancing existing strengths achieves the same outcome as the deficit approach, but with additional benefits (Larson, 2000). A specific area where strength-based assessment can be applied is with problems of school-age children. This application intends to help students flourish in their classroom setting. The present study examined the effects of a strength-focused program on the academic and behavioral performance of behavior disordered children in day treatment classes. Self-monitoring ability and level of self-concept were investigated as potential moderators of the treatment effect. Findings indicate that while there were decreases in problematic behaviors over time, they were not the direct result of the strength intervention. There were no significant changes in academic scores. Adequate construct validity of an alternative strength assessment measure was demonstrated. These findings are discussed within the context of strength-based theory. Limitations of the present study are acknowledged and directions for future research are outlined.