Categories associated with best practice:
DeStress for success© is a school-based education program developed according to the current state of knowledge on stress in psychoneuroendocrinology to decrease cortisol levels and/or depressive symptoms in adolescents making the transition to high school. A total of 504 adolescents (260 boys and 244 girls), first year high school students (Grade 7) aged 11–13 years were recruited from two private secondary schools in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Participating students were from families of middle to high socioeconomic status, all French speaking. The Intervention School was from a suburban area in the Montreal region, while the Control School was from an urban school located in the North of Montreal.
Participants receive five 40-mn workshops during five consecutive weeks:
- Recognizing Stress: NUTS (Novelty, Unpredictability, Treat to personality and Sense of control)
- Application of NUTS Model of Stress
- The Body’s Response to Stress
- Dealing with Stress: Don’t go NUTS!
- The importance of others
In the program, adolescents are trained to recognize the four characteristics of a situation that have been shown to lead to a physiological stress response (the NUTS characteristics) and they also learn to contextualize these characteristics. They learn how to recognize the body’s response to stress and how to get rid of the energy that is mobilized in response to stress. Finally, they learn the power of social support and they understand that sometimes, the same person that can give you social support can also give you social pressure. Issues such as bullying and peer pressure are discussed with the teenagers in order to allow them to recognize members of their community that can provide them with social support without the costs of social pressure.
Salivary cortisol levels and depressive symptomatology were measured before, immediately after as well as 3 months after exposure to the program. Measures of negative mood were obtained at baseline in order to determine whether adolescents starting high school with specific negative moods were differentially responsive to the program.
The results show that adolescents starting high school with high levels of anger responded to the intervention with a significant decrease in cortisol levels. Moreover, adolescents who took part in the intervention and showed decreasing cortisol levels following the intervention (responders) were 2.45 times less at risk to suffer from clinical and subclinical depressive states three months post-intervention in comparison to adolescents who showed increasing cortisol levels following the intervention (non-responders). This school-based program on stress was effective at decreasing cortisol levels and depressive symptomatology in a subgroup of adolescents making the transition to high school.
Primary Source Document
Contact information of developer(s) and/or implementer(s)
Health Issue(s) that is/are addressed by the Intervention
Specific Activities of the Intervention
Priority/Target Population for Intervention Delivery
Expertise Required for Implementation within the Context of the Intervention
Are there supports available for implementation?
Are there resources and/or products associated with the interventions?