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Health Promot Int. 2012 Mar;27(1):5-14. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dar012. Epub 2011 Mar 7.

An evaluation of a drama program to enhance social relationships and anti-bullying at elementary school: a controlled study.

Author information

1
School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland. katja.joronen@uta.fi

Abstract

Drama, theater and role-playing methods are commonly used in health promotion programs, but evidence of their effectiveness is limited. This paper describes the development, implementation and evaluation of a school-based drama program to enhance social relationships and decrease bullying at school in children in grades 4-5 (mean age of 10.4 years). Students (n = 190) were recruited from two primary schools with similar demographics and socio-economics in the Southern Finland and purposively allocated either to an intervention group or a control group. The drama program included classroom drama sessions, follow-up activities at home and three parents' evenings concerning issues of social well being during the school year September 2007-May 2008. Data on social relationships in the class room and experiences of bullying were obtained before and after the program using self-completed questionnaire from the same students (n = 134). The response rate was 71%. No differences in socio-demographics existed between intervention group and control group at pretest. The positive effect on social relationships resulting from the intervention approached statistical significance (p = 0.065). Moreover, the positive effect was found to be statistically significant in the high-intensity intervention classes (p = 0.011). Bullying victimization decreased 20.7 percentage units from pretest (58.8%) to posttest (38.1%) in the intervention group (p < 0.05). The study indicates that using applied drama and theater methods in the classroom may improve children's social relationships at school.

PMID:
21385761
DOI:
10.1093/heapro/dar012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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