Evaluating the outcomes of "Resilient left-behind children" – A social-emotional learning and mindfulness group counseling program

Written by Laura Tripa, Florin Alin Sava, Ramona Paloș, Silvia Măgurean, Irina Macsinga on . Posted in Volume XXV, Nr 1


Laura Tripa*, Florin Alin Sava, Ramona Paloș, Silvia Măgurean, Irina Macsinga

Department of Psychology West University of Timișoara, Timișoara, Romania


International migration has a powerful impact on both the sending and receiving countries, especially for adults migrating for better working conditions and leaving family members, including children, behind. Increasing numbers of left-behind children in Romania (Save the Children Romania, 2019) require attention and support through specific policies and school-based programs. The purpose of this empirical study is to develop and assess a school-based prevention/intervention group counseling program for left-behind children. The program is based on previous social-emotional learning curricula and it incorporates mindfulness technics (Sibinga, Webb, Ghazarian, & Ellen, 2016). It is designed to increase resilience and self-regulatory abilities in children, thus improving their school adjustment in terms of emotional, social, behavioral and attitudinal outcomes. Using a sample of 62 children, aged 12-15 (M = 12.71, SD = .868), we conducted a quasi-randomized trial with a control and an intervention group to investigate the efficacy of the program. Children in the intervention group reported improved self-regulation and resilience and reduced loneliness and social dissatisfaction. Teachers reported significantly fewer emotional and behavioral difficulties for the children following the intervention. This study emphasizes the role of the evidence-based approach to counseling services in schools, by capitalizing on the latest findings in the field and addressing the specific needs of left-behind children.

Keywords: migration, left-behind, resilience, social-emotional learning, mindfulness



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