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Emotional Competence in Primary School Children: Examining the Effect of a Psycho-Educational Group Intervention: A Pilot Prospective Study

  • Autori: La Grutta, Sabina; Epifanio, Maria Stella; Piombo, Marco Andrea; Alfano, Pietro; Maltese, Agata; Marcantonio, Salvatore; Ingoglia, Sonia; Alesi, Marianna; Lo Baido, Rosa; Mancini, Giacomo; Andrei, Federica
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
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Emotional competence (EC) is a key component of children’s psychological, cognitive, and social development, and it is a central element of learning. The primary goal of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of implementing a psycho-educational group intervention aimed at improving children’s emotional competence (EC), quality of integration and scholastic skills. A total of 229 children (123 females; M Age = 7.22 years; SD = 0.97 years) completed the Pictures of Facial Affect (POFA), the Drawn Stories Technique, the Classroom Drawing, and the Colored Progressive Matrices. The total sample was randomly divided into an intervention group (N = 116) who took part in psycho-educational activities and a control (no-intervention) group (N = 84). Both groups were tested at baseline, before the intervention started, and at the end of the intervention (4 months from baseline). Results from mixed-model ANOVA revealed a significant main effect for POFA score over time (F = 6.24, p = 0.01) and an interaction effect between POFA and group (F = 4.82, p = 0.03). No significant main effect was found for classroom drawing over time (F = 0.81, p > 0.05) or for quality of integration and group intervention. These findings support the importance of developing psycho-educational programmes in school for promotion of emotional health for preventing not only the onset of problematic behaviours at school such as bullying but also the development of clinical conditions linked to difficulties in emotional recognition, expression, and regulation such as alexithymia.