Efficacy Study of a Summer Intervention to Enhance Middle School Students' Subjective Well-Being, Gratitude, Engagement, and Self-Efficacy

Jason Michael Bird, University of South Carolina


Through a review of the literature, a limited number of empirically based studies and interventions were found evaluating the positive effects of comprehensive summer treatment programs on predictors of youth well-being and other positive psychological constructs. The current study examined the overall efficacy of a brief 2-week summer intervention designed to enhance middle school students' subjective well-being (SWB), gratitude, engagement, and perceived self-efficacy. Participants in the study included rising 6th to 9th grade middle school students who were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions: (1) the Leadership and Young Professionals (LYP) treatment group or (2) the writing and reading control group. Data were collected on participants at pre- and post-intervention including self-report measures of students' life satisfaction, gratitude, self-efficacy, engagement and frequency of positive and negative affect. Statistical methods for the study involved univariate analyses, inferential statistics using the General Linear Model (GLM) with pre-test scores as covariates, graphing of group means with 80% confidence intervals, and overall effect size calculations using Cohen's d to evaluate pre- to post-test differences for students in both the treatment and contact control group. The results of the current study provide support for the positive effects of summer-based interventions on enhancing predictors of adolescents' well-being and social functioning. Further study of the LYP intervention with objective measures assessed longitudinally is strongly recommended prior to broad dissemination.