Psychology ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 12-16-2023


Addressing adolescent mental health, especially among low-SES and racial-ethnic minority youth is imperative. This study evaluated the effectiveness and acceptability of a school-based socio-emotional learning program, called Wise Mind, delivered to a low-income, racially-ethnically diverse population. Participants (n=45 total; n = 25 intervention; n = 20 control) were ninth graders in both Special and General Education classes at a low-income racially-ethnically diverse high school in the Southwest United States. Eight one-hour sessions of Wise Mind were delivered to the intervention group over the course of eight weeks. Participants responded to questionnaires pre- and post- intervention assessing emotion regulation, mindfulness, interpersonal competence, and acceptability of the program. ANOVA, ANCOVA, descriptive statistics, and thematic analysis were used to analyze data. Quantitative results demonstrated no statistically significant differences pre- and post-intervention in the intervention group on outcome measures and no statistically significant differences between the control and intervention groups on outcome measures controlling for baseline scores. Qualitative results at post-intervention suggest that participants overall found the program at least somewhat effective and acceptable. Thematic analysis results included the importance of learning about mindfulness and emotion regulation, the applicability of skills to distressing or interpersonal situations, and the value of in-session engagement. Other insights gleaned from this study include ensuring cultural and contextual fit of future intervention and study methodology. Findings from this study expand our understanding of how to improve the DBT STEPS-A intervention, and SEL programs more generally, when delivered to diverse populations, with the overall goal of promoting adolescents’ socioemotional success and well-being.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Sarah Erickson

Second Committee Member

Davood Tofighi

Third Committee Member

Kamilla Venner




DBT STEPS-A, Program Evaluation, Adolescent Mental Health, Socioemotional Learning Program, Program Acceptability

Document Type


Included in

Psychology Commons