Research Snapshots

A School-based Violence Prevention Program offers a Protective Impact for Youth with Maltreatment Histories (available in French)
The Fourth R provided a protective factor against delinquency for maltreated youth at a 2-year follow-up. For these students, increasing levels of child maltreatment did not translate into higher levels of violent delinquency during adolescence. Results suggest that a short-term violence prevention program can have significant and meaningful long-term results.


Addressing the Gap Between Service Need and Delivery of Child and Youth Mental Health Services
This paper explored the need for ongoing innovation, development, and evaluation of public mental health policy related to child and youth mental health services. Authors proposed a vision in which demonstration and research sites partner with public health policy and provide support through research and evidence informed practice.


Adolescent Identity Development Buffers against Peer Pressure Risk Behaviours
This study explored whether youths' level of identity exploration and commitment to identity would moderate the relationship between peer pressure and control and risk behaviours. Identity commitment was a buffer against substance use and identity exploration was a buffer against deviant behaviours. Increased identity exploration and commitment can lead to increased autonomy and sense of responsibility. These factors promote personal independence and decrease the influence of external pressuring forces when making decisions.


Bullying Predicts Dating Violence and Poor Relationship Quality among Adolescents
This study investigated whether bullying predicted dating violence and negative relationship features in adolescent dating relationships. Researchers found that aggression and bullying with peers significantly predicted both dating violence victimization and perpetration. Age and gender were important factors in this relationship.


Effective Treatment of Mental Health Disorders among Children in Child Welfare Care
Many children and youth in the child welfare system are receiving inadequate mental health treatment. Evidence suggests that comprehensive intervention efforts involving the youth, family, and community are required for improving behavioural functioning and placement stability.


Emotional Intelligence: The New Answer For Improving Teacher Efficacy and Well-Being
Emotional intelligence (EI) training may improve teachers' psychological health, increase teachers' efficacy, decrease their stress and job dissatisfaction, and promote positive student outcomes. There is a necessity to implement evidence-based EI training interventions for teachers to improve their efficacy. Teachers and other education professionals could gain insight from understanding the benefits of enhanced EI.


Factors Related to Non-suicidal Self-injury among Adolescents Seeking Mental Health Services
This study examined the frequency of NSSI among adolescents with mental health needs and identified specific factors related to NSSI. The researchers found increased NSSI in adolescents with mood or personality disorders, histories of abuse, engagement of substance use and intentional misuse of prescription medication, and higher rates of NSSI in females. The researchers highlighted the importance of novel findings in regards to intentional misuse of prescription medications in this population.


Increasing Peer Resistance Skills through a School-based Intervention (available in French)
The research team conducted a post-intervention observational study to examine youths’ peer resistance skills after exposure to a healthy relationships curriculum. Through the use of role-play, trained observers recorded the frequency of participation in peer resistance skills. Results indicated that youth who participated in the healthy relationships program were more likely to demonstrate peer resistance skills when pressured to use drugs or alcohol, have unsafe sex, or witness peer violence perpetration at a higher rate than students who had not participated in the curriculum.


Mental Health Literacy Curriculum in Teacher Preparation Programs: Helping Teacher Candidates Meet the Mental Health Needs of Students
The concerns of education stakeholders about teachers’ mental health literacy mirror the lack of opportunities provided in their training. There is a need for a formal mental health literacy curriculum in teacher preparation programs. In addition, current teacher candidates must explore different avenues to prepare for the mental health needs they will face in their classrooms.


Poor Relationships Predict Dating Violence in Adolescent Girls (available in French)
This study examined risk factors associated with adolescent girls and dating violence as both victims and perpetrators. Researchers found that the presence of negative factors like poor peer and familial relationships in earlier grades were predictive of dating violence involvement in later grades.


The Critical Role of Schools in Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Mental health problems are common yet unidentified among youth. Approximately one million youth in Canada will experience a diagnosable mental health disorder and only 4% of these youth will receive the necessary services. Many youth who do not meet diagnostic criteria are struggling with substantial distress and their needs are often underreported and undetected. Schools can play an active role in mental health promotion.


The Link between Non-suicidal Self-Injury and Suicidal Behaviours
NSSI and suicidal behaviours are different behaviours that often co-occur. Little attention has been given to as to why these behaviours are linked. Since NSSI is considered one of the most significant risk factor for suicidal behaviours, it is crucial to examine the mechanism through which this occurs. Three theories have been proposed to explain the link between NSSI and suicidal behaviours. An integrated model of these theories is introduced.


Healthy Relationships Program Improves Adolescents' Ability to Manage Peer Violence (available in French)
This study investigated whether a healthy relationships program would improve students' social and emotional skills related to knowledge about violence, critical thinking about the impact of violence, identification of coping strategies, and their acceptability of violence.  The researchers found that the program promotes knowledge, critical thinking, and coping strategies among seventh and eight graders.


Cultural Connectedness and Identity Foster Resilience in FNMI Youth (Available in French)
This study explored the specific ways in which culturally relevant programming promotes resiliency in FNMI youth. Researchers found that identity and belonging, and cultural connectedness play an important role in promoting wellbeing in FNMI youth. Programs discussed in the study are initiatives through the Fourth R Uniting Our Nations program.


Evaluating Culturally-Relevant Programs for Indigenous Youth: Challenges and Strategies (available in French)
A balance must be found between a strict research design and honoring the requirements of a community-based partnership when evaluating programming for First Nations youth. The researchers found that community-based research partnerships are essential to engage FNMI youth and partners in the evaluation culturally-relevant programming.


Two Years of School-Based, Culturally Relevant Mentoring Promotes Positive Mental Health for FNMI Youth (available in French)
This study examined the effects of participation in a school-based, culturally relevant mentoring program on wellbeing among FNMI youth. Researchers found that adolescents who participated in 2 years of relationship-focused mentoring reported better mental health and more positive cultural identity than peers who did not participate in the program. Youth described intrapersonal and interpersonal growth, increased cultural knowledge and development of healthy relationships skills as benefits of program participation.


Culturally Relevant School-based Programming for FNMI Youth: Improved Relationships, Confidence, Leadership and School Success (available in French)
This study evaluated the Fourth R Uniting Our Nations, a school-based, culturally relevant program for FNMI youth. Results highlighted multiple positive impacts of the program. Participants reported that involvement in the program contributed to increased student success, improved relationships, gains in confidence and leadership skills, and fostered a sense of belonging and cultural identity.


Safe Schools Course Increases Knowledge and Self-efficacy in Pre-service Teachers (available in French)
This study evaluated the impact of Safe Schools, a pre-service teacher course addressing factors that affect school climate. Pre-service teachers showed increased knowledge about bullying and self-efficacy for intervening in incidents of students’ exposure to violence following the course. Teachers need opportunities to learn about factors that affect school climate in order to provide effective intervention and foster a positive school climate.


Predicting Implementation Fidelity and Sustainability in a School-based Prevention Program (available in French)
Teachers that were trained in the Fourth R prior to 2009 were surveyed online to determine the extent to which they continued using the program, the modifications they made, and perceived barriers to implementation. Results indicated that most of the teachers were highly satisfied with the program and continued implementing it with fidelity after several years. Perceived readiness after training, support and accountability emerged as predictors of high quality implementation.


Approaches to Suicide Prevention differ between Inuit and Mainstream Health Initiatives
Increased rates of suicide are seen within Inuit communities in comparison to the general Canadian population. Research suggests that this increased risk is associated with intergenerational trauma and residential schooling. Solutions to reducing risk specific to Inuit communities are discussed. A call to action is made regarding reconnecting Inuit peoples back to their cultural practices and roles as a way to heal community members from the effects of colonization.


A mindfulness-informed social-emotional learning program in kindergarten classrooms
This study explored changes in kindergarten children's behaviours following a mindfulness-informed social emotional learning program, MindUP™ children showed improvements in resiliency and behaviours such as anxiety and depression following MindUP™, but no changes in aggression and hyperactivity. More research is needed to understand these mixed preliminary findings and investigate whether these changes are linked to the MindUP™ program. 


Children's Development of Self-Regulation for Learning During MindUP
This study explored how kindergarten children’s self-regulation for learning (SR/L) developed within a mindfulness-based social and emotional learning program (MindUP), along with children’s demographic and teacher factors that were associated with it. Findings indicated that children’s behaviours associated with solo and social SR/L increased over the implementation of MindUP. In addition, student and teacher factors were associated with children’s SR/L. Results highlight the need for further, large-scale research to better understand if implementing MindUPTMmay support kindergarten children’s SR/L in classrooms.


Outcomes of Mental Health First Aid course adapted in First Nations contexts
The Mental Health First Aid First Nations (MHFAFN) course was adapted from Mental Health First Aid Basic to create a community-based, culturally safe and relevant approach to promoting mental health literacy in First Nations contexts. Ensuring cultural relevance is critical in First Nations contexts. Other widely used mental health trainings that are implemented without First Nations adaptation have had minimal or even negative results. 


GSA members' experiences with a structured program to promote well-being
The Fourth R's HRP for LGBT2Q+ Youth helps bolster positive mental wellness and encourage skill development among queer, trans, and gender diverse youth. It was adapted from the Healthy Relationships Plus Program (HRPP) - an evidence-informed, small group universal prevention program for youth that promotes positive mental health and well-being, and prevents risky behaviours. The HRP for LGBT2Q+ Youth was developed in consultation with academics, educators, and youth, and consists of 17 sessions, each lasting 45 minutes.


Changes in depression and positive mental health among youth in healthy relationships program
This study explored and identified meaningful groups of youth based on their depression symptoms over time. Researchers found that youth who reported high levels of depression prior to the program experienced a significant decline in depressive symptoms and improved mental well-being following the program.