The influence of teacher characteristics on implementation variability in a universal social and emotional learning programme.

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Craig Joyce


Research indicates a significant rise in child and adolescent mental health difficulties over the past few decades (Mental Health Foundation, 2015). Evidence-based programmes are becoming increasingly favoured as a preventative measure to address these difficulties, given that a large number of interventions delivered in schools have been shown to be effective (Domitrovich et al., 2008). While schools offer an ideal stage for the prevention of mental health difficulties, research suggests that the outcomes of evidence-based programmes are heavily moderated by implementation variability (Durlak, 2015). A key driver of effective implementation and therefore, positive outcomes, is the implementer - who in the case of school-based preventative programmes is almost exclusively the class teacher.The aim of the current study was to investigate the influence of individual level teacher characteristics on implementation variability in a universal social and emotional learning programme, using data drawn from the evaluation of the PATHS to Success trial (Humphrey et al., under review). A concurrent embedded mixed methods design was used to gain a fuller appreciation of the individual level factors that affect implementation variability. A total of 183 teachers were included in the analyses, who completed surveys regarding their professional and psychological characteristics, as well as their perceptions of and attitudes towards interventions. Data were analysed using multiple regression, including a series of interaction terms. Missing data were addressed by means of multiple imputation. There were twelve focus teachers in the qualitative strand, with interviews conducted to investigate the individual level barriers and facilitators associated with implementation variability. Teachers' interview data was analysed thematically. Results indicated that teachers' characteristics did have an influence on implementation variability, although this varied depending on the aspect of implementation. A series of multiple regression analyses indicated that implementer characteristics accounted for 9% of the variance in the fidelity model, 21% in the dosage model, and 15% in the quality model. No individual predictors were significant, although there were some marginally non-significant trends. There was also no reported increase in the variance across the three models when a series of interaction terms were added. The qualitative interviews aided the clarification of some of the quantitative findings, adding substantial depth to some of the conclusions drawn, with school leadership emerging as a significant factor in the successful implementation of the programme. There were a number of implications as a result of the findings from the current study for researchers, programme developers, and schools in understanding implementation variability at the individual level. Directions for future research are discussed in light of these findings. The University of Manchester 2016 Craig A. Joyce PhD Education


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2016