School Psychology Review

Primary Prevention of Behavioral and Emotional Problems in School-Aged Populations

Maurice J. Elias, Leslie R. Brandon

pp. 581-592

Mini-Series on Primary Prevention: From Theory on Practice and Mini-Series on Research Methods in School Psychology

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ABSTRACT: Schools repeatedly are called upon to incorporate mental health and competence-building programs into their curricula. To assist in the successful implementation of feasible programs, this article provides a conceptual and practical framework useful to school psychologists and other school-based personnel concerned with prevention of behavioral and emotional problems. From among the many existing programs, the authors cite those that are particularly realistic and viable and that can serve as models to would-be implementers. Three types of approaches are covered: person-centered, environment-centered, and those directed at both levels. Among the foci of the programs are improving coping skills, social support,and self-esteem; increasing supportive resources in the schools; and providing opportunities for students to enact a wider variety of social roles than presently is encouraged in schools. The article concludes with recommendations that prevention-oriented psychologists and other practitioners document and share resources and information on how to establish feasible, school-based programs.