School Psychology Forum

Volume 2 Issue 1
Volume 2, Issue 1 (Fall 2007 )

Editor: Ray Christner

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  • Gratitude in Children and Adolescents: Development, Assessment, and School-Based Intervention

    Jeffrey J. Froh, David N. Miller, and Stephanie F. Snyder

    Abstract: Gratitude is an important component of positive psychology and essential to living the good life, but until recently psychologists have largely ignored it. Although the developmental trajectory of gratitude remains unclear, children seem to first experience and express gratitude around 6–8 years of age. Unfortunately, gratitude measures designed specifically for youth are currently nonexistent. Therefore, although data support using adult gratitude scales with children and adolescents, youth measures are needed. Gratitude is related to a host of positive outcomes, including subjective well-being, relational support, and prosocial behavior. Counting blessings daily for 2 weeks has been associated with greater school satisfaction at immediate posttest and at 3-week follow-up. Beyond improving social and emotional functioning, gratitude also may promote academic gains via achievement motivation. School psychologists should consider gratitude a viable path for promoting positive

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  • The Use and Importance of Strength-Based Assessment

    Amanda B. Nickerson

    Abstract: Strength-based assessment is the measurement of internal and external emotional and behavioral competencies that enhance one’s ability to develop relationships, deal with stress, and promote optimal development. An overview of strength-based assessment and the arguments supporting its use are provided. Potential barriers to the routine use of strength-based assessment, such as lack of appropriate, standardized measures, bureaucratic and role constraints, and the absence of evidence suggesting that adding strength-based assessment lead to better outcomes, are reviewed. Possible solutions to overcoming these barriers, based on theory and extensions from related research, are provided. The article concludes with suggestions for and limits to how school psychologists can use strength-based assessment at universal and individual levels in assessment, treatment, and program planning.

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  • The Third Pillar: Linking Positive Psychology and School-Wide Positive Behavior Support

    Kristin D. Sawka-Miller and David N. Miller

    Abstract: The cultivation of positive institutions, or the third pillar of positive psychology, has received relatively little attention in the field. This article makes the case that negative school climates are contributing to a host of negative student outcomes. School-wide positive behavior support (SWPBS) is a prevention model predicated on the need to build healthy, protective school environments. It is argued that a primary basis for building positive institutions and successfully implementing SWPBS is positive interaction in general and praise in particular. The use of praise in schools is briefly reviewed, and specific strategies that can be used by the school psychologist to assess and increase rates of praise in schools through teacher consultation are discussed.

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  • Promoting Strengths Among Culturally Diverse Youth in Schools

    Lisa M. Edwards, Casey A. Holtz, and Marisa B. Green

    Abstract: School psychologists work with increasingly diverse students who represent a variety of cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. In this article, we discuss the need for addressing strengths among culturally diverse youth in order to promote optimal functioning. We first provide a historical perspective on multiculturalism and positive psychology, as well as a rationale for the integration of these areas of study. Then we describe the importance of psychologists working toward cultural competence through the knowledge of self and others’ cultural backgrounds. We discuss two culturally related strengths—ethnic identity and biculturalism—that have been shown to be adaptive for diverse youth and will likely have utility for school psychology practice. Finally, we conclude with two specific frameworks, the ADDRESSING model (Hays, 2001) and the Four-Front approach (Wright, 1991), which can be useful for conceptualizing students’ personal and environmental strengths and

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