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Title: Prospective Evaluation of the Pyramid Plus Psychosocial Intervention for Anxious Solitary 7-8 year old children in Northern Ireland: Effects on Internalisation Patterns and Resilience Processes
Author: McKenna, Áine Ellen
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2012
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Backgound. Pyramid Plus is a group based pycho-social intervention for anxious solitary 7-8 year school children. It is co-ordinated by Barnardo’s and runs in conjunction with participating schools across Northern Ireland. The intervention aims to increase the participants’ social and emotional competence and to promote their resilience processes. Method. The study employed a non-equivalent group design. Pyramid participants were selected based on teacher ratings of their internalising symptoms on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ, Goodman, 1997). The comparison group comprised the class children who did not receive the intervention due to a lack of need or due to their display of externalising symptoms. .In order to elucidate the effects of the intervention, Pyramid SDQ scores were compared with the comparison group using a mixed ANOVA and chi-square tests of independence. Linear regression was also used in order to estimate if self-regulation played a role in predicting internalising psychopathology at baseline and aptitude for change. The effects of the intervention on various child profiles were then considered. Results. The mixed ANOVA revealed a significant group by time interaction for Peer Problems. Pyramid participants were rated by their teachers as happier, more fulfilled in their personal relationships and had higher levels of self-esteem than the comparison group immediately following the intervention (time 2). The analysis revealed that Pyramid was used as an intervention by teachers for two distinct profiles of students displaying internalising symptoms. Children high on Assertive Expression showed a resilient trajectory at time 3 (12 week follow up), while Anxious Solitary children showed a significant decreasing Pro-social trajectory, associated with an inability to successfully regulate emotions. Conclusion. This evaluation found support for the effectiveness of Pyramid Plus in reducing Peer Problems in all participants. It highlighted that Pyramid is an effective mode of intervention for highly assertive children who were presenting with Emotional Symptoms and Peer Problems. It is suggested however, that some modifications to the current intervention strategy may be necessary if the vulnerabilities and needs of anxious solitary children are to be addressed. In particular, Pyramid Plus must directly address the need to promote self-regulation in participants and in particular to introduce cognitive regulation strategies to address the inhibition of threat perception in ambiguous social situations. These modifications are necessary if this intervention is to be considered an empirically grounded intervention for anxious solitary children.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available