Information about the measures we will be collecting from the pupils in this project
Questionnaires at first visit (S1 in Scotland, Years 7/8 in England and Wales, Year 8/9 in Northern Ireland):
- Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale – This short questionnaire asks young people about their mental wellbeing, positive feelings, and how they have been getting on with others. It includes 14 positively worded statements like ‘I’ve been feeling relaxed” and ‘I’ve been feeling cheerful’ and young people rate how true each statement has been for them recently.
- Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) – This measure will ask the young people whether they have experienced a range of symptoms related to depression (e.g. low mood, feeling tearful, loss of appetite) in the last week. It includes some questions that are positively worded (e.g. ‘I was happy’) in addition to those that ask about symptoms of depression (e.g. ‘I felt lonely’). This measure will allow us to estimate how common feelings of depression are and how they change over time.
- Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire – This questionnaire asks young people about how they have been feeling emotionally (‘I have many fears, I am easily scared’), how they have been getting on with others (I am kind to younger children’), their concentration and activity levels (‘I am restless, I cannot stay still for long’) and their behaviour (‘I usually do as I am told’). The questionnaire also asks about whether the young people feel they have any difficulties with their emotions, concentration, behaviour or relationships and, if so, how much any difficulties bother them.
Questionnaires in addition to the above, in the subset of pupils (around 90-100 per school) who are part of the classes that progress to the later stage of the project:
- Self Harm and Suicidal Thoughts – We will ask three simple yes/no questions to find out whether young people have had thoughts of death, thoughts of harming themselves, or have actually harmed themselves in any way in the previous 12 months. Self-harm is common amongst adolescents and a significant concern for teachers and schools. Understanding more about suicidal thoughts and self-harm will inform development of more effective interventions for this difficult problem.
- Pubertal Development Scale – This well-established measure asks young people about physical development related to puberty changes (e.g. growth of body hair, voice changes, starting periods). We know that young people’s mental health is related not only to their age, but also to their stage of physical development, and the hormonal changes that underlie it. For this reason, when doing research on the mental health of young people in early adolescence, it is really important to know not only how old young people are in years, but also how far through puberty they have progressed. Young people will have the option not to answer these questions if they do not feel comfortable doing so.
- Child Adolescent Mindfulness Measure – This measure asks young people about how easy they find it to pay attention to things going on around them and how they respond to difficult thoughts. For example young people are asked to say how true of them the statements “At school, I walk from class to class without noticing what I’m doing” or “I push away thoughts that I don’t like” are. We will use this questionnaire to better understand how young people naturally relate to their experiences and how this changes over time.
- RCADS – This questionnaire asks young people how often they experience a whole range of symptoms associated with anxiety. These include things like “I feel scared if I have to sleep on my own” and “I worry when I think I have done poorly at something”.
- Risky Behaviour (Alcohol and Drugs) – Young people will be asked if (and if so, how often) they smoke, drink alcohol and use a range substances (e.g. glue, solvents, cannabis, amphetamines, heroin, cocaine, etc). Young people will be reminded that this information is completely confidential. All young people will receive information on sources of support around substance misuse in their support sheet.
- CASUS –‘Your use of Health Services’ – This measure will ask young people about their use of health and social care services since the last study visit. This includes things like doctor appointments, hospital appointments, use of medication, residential care, etc.
- CHU-9D – These nine questions ask young people about how they are feeling today, including how sad, tired and annoyed they are, and how well they are able to manage their school work and join in activities like playing with friends.
- School Climate and Connectedness Survey – These questions ask young people how they feel about their school, and the people within it. They are asked how much they agree with a range of statements such as “the school rules are fair” “The students here treat me with respect” “the teachers here are nice people”. We are interested in the effects of different forms of social and emotional teaching on how young people feel about their school, as well as how young people’s perceptions of their school community relate to their mental health.
- Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function – This measure asks young people about any difficulties they have in organising and controlling their behaviour in school and at home. Example items include “my desk / workspace is a mess”, “I forget to hand in my homework even when it’s completed” and “I over-react to small things”. This measure helps us to get a picture of young people’s own views on their ability to exercise self-control and manage their behaviour. We are interested in how these abilities relate to other aspects of mental health and wellbeing and how they change over time.
- Mindfulness practice – In this project we will compare the existing, good-quality, social emotional learning that is already being taught in schools (known as ‘teaching as usual’) to a programme of study that is based on mindfulness techniques. For pupils in the schools running a mindfulness programme, the pupils will be asked some questions about how much they are using the mindfulness techniques taught to them at home or out of the school environment.
Following the UK lockdown in March 2020, we added in a questionnaire about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is in addition to the questionnaires above, only for the subset of pupils in our second cohort of schools, who are part of classes that have continued to the later stage of the project.
- Impact of COVID-19 – These questions ask young people about how connected they felt with their family, their household resources and how much support they received from their school, teachers, family and friends during lockdown. Example items include: “During lockdown, did you have adequate access to the following support / resources at home? A quiet space for working or studying? Reliable internet access? Regular help from your teacher, school or college?” We are interested in understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has had on young people.