Effects of an After-School Program Focused on Physical Activity and Social–Emotional Learning

Caitlin Olive, Bryan A. McCullick, Phillip Tomporowski, Karen Lux Gaudreault, Kelly Simonton


The purpose of this study was to analyze the influence of a 4-week, physical activity-infused social–emotional and character development (SECD) intervention on students’ self-perceptions. Children (N=29) identified as “at risk” (The Great Schools Partnership, 2013) in Grades 2 through 5 who were enrolled in an after-school program participated in the study. A quasi-experimental design was used as children were placed into 2 groups at each after-school program (ASP) site. Data collection included student completion of the Social Emotional Learning Scale (SELS) prior to the intervention and the Social-Emotional Character Development Scale (SECD) pre- and post-intervention. A 2 x 2 repeated measures analysis of covariance (RM-ANCOVA) was used to evaluate main effects and interactions among the independent variables (group and time) on the dependent variable (SECDS). Several covariates were also accounted for when analyzing differences including grade, gender, and students’ baseline trait scores on the SELS. Although no statistical interactions were found, the trend in the data across the groups and grades does provide information for the impact and feasibility of this type of program. More research is needed including interventions with longer duration and studies with larger sample sizes.


social–emotional learning; after-school programs; physical activity

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2020.889

Copyright (c) 2020 Caitlin Olive, Bryan A. McCullick, Phillip Tomporowski, Karen Lux Gaudreault, Kelly Simonton

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