GROW Zambia: A pilot cluster-randomized trial of a spiritually-based character strengths training curriculum to enhance resilience among Zambian youth

J. Paul Seale, Dana M. Seale, Yvonne Pande, Troy M. Lewis, Wilfred Manda, Lameck Kasanga, Erin B. Gibson, Kristin Hadfield, Tasha Ogoh, Robert E. McGrath, Sion K. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Few studies have examined the impact of resilience training on youth in lower/middle income countries (LMICs). This study assessed feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of GROW, a 24-week character-based resilience curriculum rooted in positive psychology and spirituality and taught via storytelling. Our pilot design–a mixed method, cluster-randomized controlled trial–was conducted with 28 classes of 643 Zambian youth ages 10–13 (M = 11.39, SD = 0.95, 55.4% female). Classes were divided into initial-start and delayed-start intervention phases. In 17 focus groups, parents, teachers, GROW leaders, and children affirmed the program’s excellent cultural fit. Adult stakeholders observed positive impacts on school attendance, academic performance, and students’ character and behavior. Initial-start students showed a pre-post increase in psychological resilience (p < .05). Together, these findings suggest GROW has promise for improving early adolescents’ positive development. This strengthens the evidence base for the potential impact of culturally appropriate, spiritually-oriented programs delivered by lay providers for LMIC youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Resilience
  • adolescent
  • character strengths
  • spirituality
  • storytelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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