Date of Conferral
Maria van Tilburg
The growing recognition that stress is a risk factor for youth health problems has spawned research on school-based stress prevention programs and services. While such programs and services are now available for adoption by schools, there is an absence of data on their use in U.S. schools systems. In the current study, Everett Rogers's diffusion of innovations model provided the theoretical framework for the investigation of school district stress prevention practices in one southern U.S. state. The sample for this quantitative descriptive study consisted of 135 out of 136 active public districts, and 72% of school systems completed and returned the survey (N = 97). Participants were designated school system personnel (83% administrators) who accepted either the e-mail or postal invitation to take part in the study. Descriptive data were gathered on the prevalence and characteristics of stress prevention programs and services for students, and the relationship between school district characteristics and programming and services prevalence was examined via chi-square and Fisher's exact tests. The frequency results indicate that 19% of districts provide programming, 22% provide services, and 23% provide both programming and services to students, and the Fisher's exact test revealed that programming prevalence is highest among urban districts compared to small town/rural school systems (p = 0.12). Recommendations for future research include the study of stress prevention practices with students and school system personnel at the national level. The findings of this study may contribute to the health and welfare of children and adolescents by informing the efforts of school systems to promote the adaptive competence of general student populations.