Promoting and Building Resilience in Primary School Communities: Evidence from a Comprehensive ‘Health Promoting School’ Approach
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This paper reports on the first phase of a multi-strategy health promotion project which uses a whole-school approach to promote resilience in children of primary school age in school, family and community settings in urban and rural/remote locations in Queensland, Australia. The study population comprised students from Years 3, 5, and 7 (ages 8, 10, 12 years), their parents/care-givers and staff in 20 primary schools. Evidence emerging from this phase of the project confirms that the school environment makes a major contribution to the development of psychological resilience in children. Schools in which students reported more positive adult and peer social networks and feelings of connectedness to adults and peers, and a strong sense of autonomy, were associated with higher self-ratings of resilience in the students. There was also high concurrence by parents and caregivers regarding perceptions of the school environment. These schools rated more highly on 'health promoting school' (HPS) attributes and principles. Characteristics of such schools included features like shared decision-making and planning, community participation, a supportive physical and social environment, good school-community relations, clearly articulated health policies and access to appropriate health services.
International Journal of Mental Health Promotion