Up the Creek without any Pedagogy: Piloting a School-Based Modified DBT-A Skills Program to Support At-Risk Students
Abstract Purpose: The purpose of this study was to pilot a modified Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Adolescents (DBT-A) group skills training program for at-risk students in one urban Saskatchewan high school. The study aimed to explore and understand the benefits and challenges of implementing a targeted intervention and to gain insight into the lived experiences of at-risk students using a framework of resiliency research. Research design: Using a convergent parallel mixed-method design, grade nine and ten students received 12 weeks of manual-guided modified DBT-A group skills training. Quantitative data relating to students’ behavioral, emotional, interpersonal, and school functioning were collected at baseline and post-treatment using the BASC-3 (Reynolds & Kamphaus, 2015) and Resiliency Scales for Children (Prince-Embury, 2007). Post-intervention individual interviews and a teacher focus-group interview were conducted, analyzed, and integrated with the quantitative data to create individual resiliency profiles. Overall themes were also identified and discussed in terms of Prince-Embury’s (2007) Three-Factor Model of Resiliency. Results: This study provided preliminary data on the challenges and opportunities of implementing a modified DBT-A group skills training program in a high school setting to support at-risk students, as well as the personal, interpersonal, and contextual risk and protective factors that impact at-risk students’ resiliency and emotional and behavioral functioning at school. Findings served to inform future research on interventions for at-risk students that may be provided by school counsellors in Saskatchewan high schools.
School-based, DBT-A skills training, At-Risk Students, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
Master of Education (M.Ed.)
Educational Psychology and Special Education
School and Counselling Psychology