Date of Award

Summer 2015

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Rachel Brown

Second Advisor

Mark W. Steege

Third Advisor

Bette Katsekas




Children who show signs of depression are at greater risk of having depression as adults as well as developing comorbid conditions. A multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) approach is currently the best evidence-based method for addressing behavioral and mental health concerns in a school setting. At this time, few research-based interventions exist that adequately address internalizing behaviors such as those associated with depression. Strong Kids is an evidence-based social-emotional learning curriculum that can be used at both the universal and secondary levels of prevention. It is designed to address internalizing behaviors; however, it has only been tested as one chronological series of lessons. This makes immediate response to a student’s need – a hallmark of secondary prevention in MTSS – challenging because the Strong Kids program can take a minimum of 6 weeks for delivery. The current single-case design research evaluated the delivery of Strong Kids in an elementary school on a continuously rotating 4-week basis, such that students referred for the intervention began at the beginning of any given week and continued to receive the intervention until all lessons were received. Three hypotheses were tested: (a) Students at risk for developing depressive disorders would show reduced risk of depression following the Strong Kids intervention; (b) this intervention would be effective for students regardless of the lesson on which they begin the intervention; and, (c) any differential effects among students beginning the intervention during different weeks would be small and not reach the level of clinical significance. The obtained findings and implications for school practices are discussed.