Master Solveig Ingebjørg Holen's avhandling for graden ph.d.

Avhandlingens tittel er:

Coping in children: Effectiveness of the universal school-program Zippy's Friends. A matched and randomized controlled study.


The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of the universal school intervention Zippy’s Friends in Norway. The study was conducted at the Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Eastern and Southern Norway and the Department of Special Needs Education, University of Oslo. The program was developed for six to eight years old children, and its main goal is to improve children’s ways of coping with stress. There is little consensus in how to measure and conceptualize the concept of coping in young children. Thus, we first explored the patterns of coping in the current sample, and the associations between coping and mental health. Then the effects of the intervention on a broad range of outcomes were examined; coping strategies, mental health, social climate in class and academic achievement. Subgroup effects of sex and socio-economic status (SES) were also evaluated. The study was carried out in whole classes at the second-grade level of primary school. Thirty-five schools representing 91 classes and 1,483 children were matched in pairs and randomly assigned to control− or intervention conditions. Coping (Kidcope) was assessed by the children and parents whereas mental health (SDQ) was measured by parents and teachers. Academic achievement and social climate inn class (FEESS1-2) were assessed by children and teachers. Analyses were performed using structural equation modelling, accounting for the hierarchical structure of the data. Latent variable regression analysis indicated that both active and emotional coping strategies were associated with fewer mental health problems, whereas withdrawal and oppositional coping were associated with more problems. The evaluation of the program indicated that oppositional coping strategies and the impact of the total symptom load were reduced, whereas active and support-seeking strategies increased in the intervention group compared with controls. Academic achievement and the social climate in the classroom were also improved. Subgroup analyses suggested that oppositional strategies were reduced in girls and children in the low SES group, whereas active and support-seeking coping strategies increased in girls. The impact of having mental health problems was reduced in boys.

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Publisert 15. mai 2012 10:47 - Sist endret 25. mai 2012 09:17