The role of school connectedness in
the prevention of youth depression and anxiety: a systematic review with youth
Background and aims
Despite investment in school-based prevention for youth depression and anxiety in recent decades, there is a dearth of scalable interventions with large effects that are sustained over time. Novel approaches to prevention that recognise schools as social and learning environments,
rather than solely a platform for delivering a low-dose of individually oriented interventions, are urgently needed. Accumulating evidence suggests that school connectedness, including students’ thoughts (e.g., perceptions of relationships with teachers and peers), feelings (e.g., around sense of
belonging), and behaviours (e.g., participation in school activities) towards the school environment and learning experiences, is associated with greater academic achievement and psychological wellbeing. However, the extent to which school connectedness may prevent the onset of depression or anxiety or promote
their remission is unclear. We conducted a systematic review of the evidence for 1) prospective relationships between school connectedness and depression and anxiety, and 2) the effect of interventions to improve school connectedness on depression and anxiety.
Dr Monika Raniti (Lead)
Professor George Patton
Professor Susan Sawyer
Divyangana Rakesh (Research Assistant)
Jackson Smith, Clara Tambunan, Mary Patricia Lou Vinluan, Nuha Yahya, and Mac Zamani (Youth advisers based in Australia, Indonesia and The Philippines)
Wellcome Trust Mental Health 'Active Ingredients' 2021 commission - https://wellcome.org/what-we-do/mental-health/projects/anxiety-depression-young-people-finding-next-generation-treatments
Key papers / outputs
The Mental Elf |
School connectedness, anxiety and depression: recent evidence and young people’s perspectives #ActiveIngredientsMH
Wellcome. (2022). What science has shown can help young people with
anxiety and depression. Identifying and reviewing the 'active ingredients' of
effective interventions: Part 2. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7327296
Raniti, M., Rakesh, D., Patton, G. C., & Sawyer, S. M.
(2022). The role of school connectedness in the prevention of youth depression
and anxiety: a systematic review with youth consultation. BMC Public
Health, 22(1), 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-14364-6
The Conversation, published November 28, 2022. Research suggests one way to prevent depression and anxiety is a strong sense of connection at high school.
Murdoch Children's Research Institute, published November 27, 2022. Positive social-emotional environments in schools boosts student’s mental health.
For further information please contact Dr Monika Raniti