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Developing a whole-school mental health and wellbeing intervention through pragmatic formative process evaluation: A case-study of innovative local practice within the School Health Research Network

Gobat, Nina, Littlecott, Hannah, Williams, Andy, McEwan, Kirsten, Stanton, Helen, Robling, Michael, Rollnick, Stephen, Murphy, Simon and Evans, Rhiannon 2021. Developing a whole-school mental health and wellbeing intervention through pragmatic formative process evaluation: A case-study of innovative local practice within the School Health Research Network. BMC Public Health 21 , 154. 10.1186/s12889-020-10124-6

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Abstract

Background The evidence-base for whole school approaches aimed at improving student mental health and wellbeing remains limited. This may be due to a focus on developing and evaluating de-novo, research-led interventions, while neglecting the potential of local, contextually-relevant innovation that has demonstrated acceptability and feasibility. This study reports a novel approach to modelling and refining the programme theory of a whole-school restorative approach, alongside plans to scale up through a national educational infrastructure in order to support robust scientific evaluation. Methods A pragmatic formative process evaluation was conducted of a routinized whole-school restorative approach aimed at improving student mental health and wellbeing in Wales. Results The study reports the six phases of the pragmatic formative process evaluation. These are: 1) identification of innovative local practice; 2) scoping review of evidence-base to identify potential programme theory; outcomes; and contextual characteristics that influence implementation; 3) establishment of a Transdisciplinary Action Research (TDAR) group; 4) co-production and confirmation of an initial programme theory with stakeholders; 5) planning to optimise intervention delivery in local contexts; and 6) planning for feasibility and outcome evaluation. The phases of this model may be iterative and not necessarily sequential. Conclusions Formative, pragmatic process evaluations can support researchers, policy-makers and practitioners in developing robust scientific evidence-bases for acceptable and feasible local innovations that do not already have a clear evidence base. The case of a whole-school restorative approach provides a case example of how such an evaluation may be undertaken.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Centre for Trials Research (CNTRR)
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher: BMC
ISSN: 1471-2458
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 January 2021
Date of Acceptance: 22 December 2020
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2021 11:25
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/137652

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