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Publication Date


Document Type


Study Type

Mixed methods


School for Social Work


Social learning, Emotion-focused therapy, Low-income students-Service for, Low-income students-Mental health, Psychic trauma-Treatment, School social work, Mixed methods research, Social emotional learning, Trauma informed care, Urban low-income students


The purpose of this study is to examine the intersection of social and emotional learning (SEL) and the known effects of student trauma in urban, low-income students. The study is an evaluation of Wediko Children’s Services (New York) school-based mental health programming at one case school with urban, low-income students that includes teaching SEL and trauma informed approaches to students and staff. An advanced mixed methods intervention explanatory-sequential design was used to understand the students’ changes in social skills and problem behaviors after the intervention of Wediko’s school-based services and how this varied depending on their past level of trauma. The study was a single group pre- and post-test quantitative assessment (quasi-experimental design) with qualitative data collection via student interviews at the end of the intervention. The quantitative results found that students stayed the same in their ratings of social skills and problem behaviors and the level of trauma did not moderate the intervention. In addition, more Wediko services were predictive of lower social skills and increased problem behaviors in students. The qualitative results from the student interviews helped to further explain the experimental results by finding that students felt differently based on their level of SEL change and trauma: All students felt that Wediko counselors helped and they improved, and trauma was understood as affecting school. This study provides implications for better supporting urban, low-income youth in social and emotional programs and contributes to a better understanding of possible moderating variables in working with this vulnerable population.




156 pages : illustration. Ph.D.-Dissertation-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 103-119)