The PATHS® Curriculum

About This Program

Target Population: Universal populations (all children) including those with more serious behavior problems and/or cognitive challenges

For children/adolescents ages: 3 – 12

Program Overview

The PATHS® (Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies) Curriculum is a comprehensive social-emotional learning program designed to reduce aggression and behavior problems and to increase emotional and social competencies in preschool and elementary school-aged children. This curriculum is intended to be used by educators and counselors in the classroom to simultaneously target prevention of future emotional and behavioral problems (all children), as well as intervention (e.g., students with poor classroom behavior and performance). In addition to detailed scripted lessons and materials, generalization and academic integration strategies are incorporated in the program to facilitate use of skills throughout the day (e.g., in the “teachable moments”) and to promote the integration of social, emotional, and academic learning and development. Although primarily designed for use in the school setting (whole classroom or smaller groups), the program can be adapted for other locations. Information and activities are included for use with parents. An after-care version is also available.

PATHS® is a registered trademark of PATHS Program LLC, the distributor of The PATHS® Curriculum.

Program Goals

The goals of The PATHS® Curriculum are:

  • Decreased internalizing symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, and withdrawal)
  • Decreased externalizing symptoms (e.g., aggression, bullying, deficits in attention, hyperactivity, disruptive behavior, delinquency)
  • Increased emotional understanding & self-awareness
  • Increased use of cognitive abilities and strategies (e.g., executive functions)
  • Increased self-control & emotion regulation
  • Increased use of effective conflict-resolution strategies & problem-solving skills
  • Increased prosocial behavior, social skills, & peer sociability
  • Improved relationships with teacher & classroom atmosphere
  • Increased engagement/attention in the classroom
  • Higher test scores in reading, writing, and math

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for The PATHS® Curriculum.

Essential Components

The essential components of The PATHS® Curriculum include:

  • A set of separate grade level kits for Preschool/Kindergarten to Grade 5/6. Each kit includes one or two binders of lessons, an instruction manual, and most materials needed (e.g., posters, charts, Feeling Faces, photographs, illustrations, stickers stories or books, puppets, PATHS Feelings Thesaurus, etc.).
  • The program is based on several logic models/theories including social cognitive neuroscience, psychoanalytic neuroscience, attachment theory, and the ABCD (Affect-Behavior-Cognition-Dynamic) Model of Development (importance of integration of emotions, cognition, & behavior during childhood).
  • Each grade level includes an average of 40 lessons delivered by classroom teachers or counselors for at least 30 minutes for a minimum of two times a week (more sessions are recommended, as many lessons will take more than one session). All lessons are teacher-friendly, with objectives, complete scripts, and instructions, but teachers are encouraged to adapt the lessons to optimize them for their particular classrooms. Lessons are generally taught to entire classrooms, but can also be taught in smaller groups.
  • Lessons are developmentally appropriate for each grade, with concepts building from year to year.
  • Multimodal instruction includes didactics, discussions, role playing, games, writing, art, music, skills practice, original children’s stories, puppets (preschool/kindergarten and grade 1), award winning novels (grades 4 – 6), projects, and more.
  • • Generalization techniques are included to promote the integration of social emotional learning with academics (e.g., writing exercises with a Feelings Dictionary or Feelings Thesaurus, original children’s stories, social studies connections, etc.).
  • Handouts and letters are included to keep parents informed and to promote generalization of skills at home.
  • An after-care version of the curriculum (abridged and adapted for the after-care setting) is also available.
  • Numerous topics are covered in four major domains to decrease problem behaviors and increase prosocial competency. Examples include:
    • Emotional Literacy:
      • Understanding and labeling one’s own feelings
      • Understanding and labeling feelings in others
      • Self-regulation and managing emotions
      • Self-awareness
      • Feelings vs. behaviors
      • Cultural display rules
      • Understanding emotion cues and facial expressions
      • Sharing & talking about feelings with others
      • Privacy
      • Coping with anxiety & stress
      • Feelings & the brain
    • Social Skills:
      • Complimenting & caring about others (empathy)
      • Cooperation, teamwork, & helping others
      • Friendship & other relationship skills
      • Communication skills
      • Sharing & other prosocial behaviors
      • Manners & why they’re important
      • Understanding & appreciating diversity
      • Teasing & gossip
      • Bullying prevention
      • Social awareness
      • Good citizenship
    • Classroom Behavior:
      • Rules & why they’re important
      • Listening skills & paying attention
      • Respect
      • Self-control & self-management
      • Organizational skills
      • Study skills
      • Student-teacher attachment
      • Self-motivation
      • Fair/unfair
      • Attributions for success
      • Rejection & inclusion
      • Responsibility for self and others
    • Problem Solving:
      • 11-step problem-solving model
      • Problem-solving meetings:
      • Problem & conflict identification
      • Making good choices
      • Responsible decision-making
      • Goal setting
      • Generating solutions
      • Understanding consequences
      • Planning skills
      • Handling & overcoming obstacles
      • Dealing with stereotyping and discrimination
      • Delinquency prevention
      • Substance abuse prevention

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

The PATHS® Curriculum directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Aggression, emotional outbursts, hyperactive-disruptive behavior, attentional deficits, motivational issues, conduct problems, oppositional behavior, bullying, anxiety, depression, poor engagement in the classroom, social skill deficits, communication difficulties, stressful classroom atmosphere

Recommended Intensity:

Five 30-minute sessions per week (can be done in two to four sessions if necessary) and generalization throughout the day

Recommended Duration:

The full program is best utilized on a school-wide basis and is delivered throughout each school year from preschool or kindergarten through grade 6.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Hospital
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)

Homework

The PATHS® Curriculum includes a homework component:

Children and parents are given homework tasks and worksheets with some of the lessons. Parent handouts and letters are also provided for parent-child discussion and generalization for use of skills at home.

Languages

The PATHS® Curriculum has materials available in languages other than English:

Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish

For information on which materials are available in these languages, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • The PATHS® Curriculum Kits
  • A/V: In order to monitor implementation, it is necessary to have video and/or audio recording capabilities
  • Space/room requirements: Classroom (or space for a small group meeting); space for posters & charts
  • Personnel: Classroom teacher or school counselor/clinician

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Teacher training or certification, school counselor, Bachelor’s or equivalent degree, trained paraprofessionals, experience with children

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Program Manual(s)

Training Manuals:

Kusché, C. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (1994). The PATHS curriculum. Developmental Research & Programs.

Domitrovich, C. E., Greenberg, M. T., Kusché, C. A., & Cortes, R. (2005). The PATHS® program (Preschool/Kindergarten level). PATHS® Program LLC.

Kusché, C. A., Greenberg, M. T., & CPPRG. (2011). The PATHS® program (Grades 1-2). PATHS® Program LLC.

Greenberg, M. T., Kusché, C. A., & CPPRG. (2012). The PATHS® program (Grades 3-5). PATHS® Program LLC.

For further information on ordering curricular materials, please go to the distributor’s website: https://pathsprogram.com/.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contacts:
Training Type/Location:

On-site or online via Zoom, by arrangement

Number of days/hours:
  • Initial 1 or 2-day workshop
  • Optional one-day booster session 3-6 months later
  • Optional monthly or bimonthly coaching calls available to improve/maintain quality
  • Three-hour online video webinar training (self-paced) and three-hour booster video webinar are also available from the distributor.

Implementation Information

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for The PATHS® Curriculum as listed below:

A PATHS® Readiness Tool is available at the EpisCenter, Penn State University (http://www.episcenter.psu.edu/sites/default/files/ebp/PATHS_ReadinessTool_2020-01-09.pdf).

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of The PATHS® Curriculum as listed below:

PATHS® Training LLC provides active support for implementation onsite or through coaching calls. Support is available at any time by request. All consultation is optional and fees vary depending on services requested.

PATHS Program LLC offers a 3-hour video online training webinar and a 3-hour booster webinar.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for The PATHS® Curriculum as listed below:

An Implementation Record and Evaluation Form is included in the PATHS® Evaluation Kit (included in the program kits). This measure is a practitioner self-report assessment. Use of the form is optional.

Evaluation and observation forms to assess fidelity and collect other data are available at EpisCenter, Penn State University (http://www.episcenter.psu.edu/ebp/altthinking/evaltools).

A PATHS® Program Monitoring Form for use by trained classroom observers is available by request from the distributor, PATHS Program LLC.

Video recordings of lessons can be submitted to trained staff at PATHS Program LLC for evaluation by arrangement. There is a fee for this service.

Established Psychometrics:

Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (1999). Initial impact of the Fast Track prevention trial for conduct problems: I. The high-risk sample. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67(5), 631–647. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.67.5.631

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are implementation guides or manuals for The PATHS® Curriculum as listed below:

An implementation manual is included with each curriculum kit (distributed by PATHS Program LLC):

  • Kusché, C. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2011). PATHS®: An Introduction to the Curriculum. PATHS Program LLC.

All instructions for delivering the lessons are included in the The PATHS® Curriculum lesson binders. The introduction guide is a separate manual that includes the following topics and more:

  • Implementing The PATHS® Curriculum Effectively
  • Training and Technical Support
  • Implementation is a Multi-Year Process
  • Who Should Receive PATHS® Lessons?
  • Preparing to Teach The PATHS® Curriculum
  • Some Common Problems in Implementation
  • SEL and Educational Standards
  • Bridging The PATHS® Curriculum with Other Academic Curricula
  • Encouraging Parent Involvement
  • Evidence of Program Effectiveness, a Summary of the Conceptual Framework

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has been conducted on how to implement The PATHS® Curriculum as listed below:

Faria, A-M., Kendziora, K., Brown, L., O’Brien, B., & Osher, D. (2013). PATHS implementation and outcome study in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District: Final report. American Institutes for Research. https://www.air.org/sites/default/files/downloads/report/Evaluation_of_PATHS_in_CMSD_final_report_6_2413_0.pdf

Gibson, J. E., Werner, S. S., & Sweeney, A. (2015). Evaluating an abbreviated version of the PATHS curriculum implemented by school mental health clinicians. Psychology in the Schools, 52(6), 549–561. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.21844

Kam, C. M., Greenberg, M. T., & Walls, C. T. (2003). Examining the role of implementation quality in school-based prevention using the PATHS curriculum. Prevention Science, 4, 55–63. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021786811186

Ross, S. R., Sheard, M. K., & Slavin, R. E. (2019). PATHS® Programme for Schools (NI Version) data collection: Data from the evaluation of Barnardos NI PATHS programme by the Institute for Effective Education at University of York and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Children’s Research Network. https://childrensresearchnetwork.org/knowledge/research/paths-programme-for-schools-ni-version-data-collection

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

The CEBC reviews all of the articles that have been published in peer-reviewed journals as part of the rating process. When there are more than 10 published, peer-reviewed articles, the CEBC identifies the most relevant articles, with a focus on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled studies that have an impact on the rating. The articles chosen for The PATHS® Curriculum are summarized below:

Greenberg, M. T., Kusché, C. A., Cook, E. T., & Quamma, J. P. (1995). Promoting emotional competence in school-aged children: The effects of The PATHS Curriculum. Development and Psychopathology, 7, 117–136. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579400006374

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 286

Population:

  • Age — 6-10 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 165 Caucasians, 91 African Americans, 11 Asian Americans, 7 Filipino Americans, 7 Native Americans, 1 Hispanic, and 4 Other
  • Gender — 167 Males and 119 Females
  • Status — Participants were children in 2nd and 3rd grade.

Location/Institution: Seattle, Washington

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This study examined the effectiveness of the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum [now called The PATHS® Curriculum] on the emotional development of school-aged children. Schools were randomly assigned to intervention or control condition. Approximately 30% of the children were in a self-contained special needs classroom with the remainder in regular education. Measures included the Recognition of Emotion Concepts subtest from the Kusche Affective Interview – Revised (KAI-R) and the Child Behavior Checklist –Teacher Report Form (CBCL- TRF). Results indicate that PATHS was effective for both low-and high-risk (special needs) children in improving their range of vocabulary and fluency in discussing emotional experiences, their efficacy beliefs regarding the management of emotions, and their developmental understanding of some aspects of emotions. In some instances, greater improvement was shown in children with higher teacher ratings of psychopathology. Limitations include lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

McMahon, R. J., Bierman, K. L., Coie, J. D., Dodge, K. A., Greenberg, M. T., Lochman, J. E., & Pinderhughes, E. E. (1999). Initial impact of the Fast Track prevention trial for conduct problems: II. Classroom effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67(5), 648–657. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.67.5.648

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 6,715

Population:

  • Age — Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were children in 1st grade public education classrooms (3 successive cohorts, at-risk students not included).

Location/Institution: Nashville, Tennessee; Durham, North Carolina; Seattle, Washington; and central Pennsylvania

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This study examined the effectiveness of the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum [now called The PATHS® Curriculum] and teacher consultation. Schools in four targeted locations were randomized to the PATHS intervention or the control group. Measures utilized include the Authority Acceptance Scale of the Teacher Observation of Classroom Adaptation—Revised (TOCA–R) and the Social Health Profile (SHP). Results indicated significant improvements in the domains of aggression and peer relations. Improvements were shown in the areas of better rule following, better classroom atmosphere, and more on-task behavior. Limitations include lack of inter-rater reliability information and the removal of the highest risk students from the sample (as they received additional interventions), which may have impacted the classroom environment.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Kam, C. M., Greenberg, M. T., & Walls, C. T. (2003). Examining the role of implementation quality in school-based prevention using the PATHS curriculum. Prevention Science, 4, 55–63. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021786811186

Type of Study: Other quasi-experimental
Number of Participants: 164 in the intervention group

Population:

  • Age — Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — 79.42% African American (in the overall study)
  • Gender — 47.14% Males (in the overall study)
  • Status — Participants were children in 1st grade with special needs.

Location/Institution: Three elementary schools in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This study describes findings regarding quality of implementation in an effectiveness trial conducted in a high-risk, American urban community. This delinquency prevention trial used the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum [now called The PATHS® Curriculum] as its major program component. Three schools implemented PATHS and were compared to 3 other schools in the same school district. Measures included the Teacher Social Competence Rating Scale and measures of principal support and implementation quality. Results indicate the intervention was effective in improving children’s emotional competence and reducing their aggression in schools. In addition, both principal support and the quality of teacher implementation at the classroom level were critical factors in determining the success of the program dissemination on child outcomes. In this study, significant intervention effects were only found in those settings where both principal support and implementation quality was high; that is, neither high implementation quality nor high principal support by itself predicted intervention effectiveness. Limitations include the lack of direct measures of principal support or organizational climate.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Kam, C. M., Greenberg, M. T., & Kusché, C. A. (2004). Sustained effects of the PATHS curriculum on the social and psychological adjustment of children in special education. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 12(2), 66–78. https://doi.org/10.1177/10634266040120020101

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 133

Population:

  • Age — Mean=8 years, 8 months
  • Race/Ethnicity — 88 White, 27 African American, and 18 Other
  • Gender — 97 Male and 36 Female
  • Status — Participants were children in 1st through 3rd grade with special needs.

Location/Institution: Seattle, Highline, and Shoreline school districts

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This study is a follow-up of a sample subset from Greenberg et al. (1995). This study examined the long-term effectiveness of the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum [now called The PATHS® Curriculum] on the adjustment of school-age children with special needs. Eighteen special education classrooms were assigned to either PATHS or a control group. Measures utilized include the Kusche Emotional Inventory (KEI), the Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI), the Child Behavior Checklist Teacher Report Form (CBCL-TRF), and the Teacher-Child Rating Scale (TCRS). Results indicate that the PATHS curriculum reduced the reduced the rate of growth for teacher-reported internalizing and externalizing behaviors 2 years after PATHS and produced a sustained reduction in depressive symptoms reported by the children. Limitations include generalizability beyond self-contained special needs classrooms and that other interventions may have occurred in the classrooms.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 1 month, 1, 2, and 3 years.

Riggs, N. R., Greenberg, M. T., Kusché, C. A., & Pentz, M. A. (2006). The mediational role of neurocognition in the behavioral outcomes of a social-emotional prevention program in elementary school students: Effects of the PATHS curriculum. Prevention Science, 7(1), 91–102. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-005-0022-1

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 318

Population:

  • Age — 7– 9 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 55% Caucasian, 33% African American, and 22% Other
  • Gender — 50% Female
  • Status — Participants were children in 2nd and 3rd grade.

Location/Institution: Seattle, Washington

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This study uses a subset of the sample from Greenberg et al. (1995). The current study examines the underlying neurocognitive conceptual theory of action of the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum [now called The PATHS® Curriculum]. Participants were regular education students enrolled in the second or third grade. Measures utilized include the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (WISC-R), The Stroop Test, The Verbal Fluency Subtest of the McCarthy Scales of Children Abilities, and the Child Behavior Checklist Teacher Report Form (CBCL-TRF). At one-year follow-up, PATHS intervention children demonstrated significantly fewer behavior problems both with regard to teacher-reported externalizing and internalizing behaviors. Results also indicate that children who participated in the PATHS intervention demonstrated greater inhibitory control and verbal fluency at follow-up than did children in comparison classrooms. Limitations include that only a limited number of indicators of inhibitory control and verbal fluency were used.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 1 year.

Domitrovich, C. E., Cortes, R. C., & Greenberg, M. T. (2007). Improving young children's social and emotional competence: A randomized trial of the Preschool "PATHS" curriculum. Journal of Primary Prevention, 28, 67–91. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10935-007-0081-0

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 246

Population:

  • Age — Mean=51.40 months (~4 years, 3 months)
  • Race/Ethnicity — 47% African American, 38% European American, 10% Hispanic, and 5% Other
  • Gender — 126 Female and 120 Male
  • Status — Participants were children enrolled in the Head Start program.

Location/Institution: Central Pennsylvania

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This paper reports the results from a study evaluating an adaptation of the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum [now called The PATHS® Curriculum] for preschool-age children in Head Start. Classrooms were assigned to PATHS or a wait-list control group. Child assessments and teacher and parent reports of child behavior assessments were collected at the beginning and end of the school year. Measures utilized include the Recognition of Emotion Concepts subtest from the Kusche Emotional Inventory (KEI), the Assessment of Children’s Emotions Scales (ACES), the Denham Puppet Interview (DPI), the Day/Night task, Luria’s tapping test, the Attention Sustained subtest from the Leiter-Revised Assessment Battery, the Challenging Situations Task (CST), Teacher-Report of Child: Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales (PKBS), Parent-Report of Child: Head Start Competence Scale (HSCS), and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition (PPVT-III). Results indicate parents of preschool children who received the PATHS preschool program described their children as significantly more socially and emotionally competent than did parents of children in comparison classrooms. Further, teachers rated PATHS children as less socially withdrawn at the end of the school year compared to controls. Limitations include use of behavior ratings by teachers who were not blinded to study assignment, rather than direct observations of child behavior, and analyses were conducted at the individual child level even though the unit of randomization was the classroom.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Bierman, K. L., Coie, J. D., Dodge, K. A., Greenberg, M. T., Lochman, J. E., McMahon, R. J., & Pinderhughes, E. (2010). The effects of a multiyear universal social–emotional learning program: The role of student and school characteristics. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 156–168. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0018607

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 2,937

Population:

  • Age — Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were children who had received the PATHS curriculum n Grades 1, 2 and 3 as part of the Fast Track project (at-risk students not included.

Location/Institution: Nashville, Tennessee; Seattle, Washington and central Pennsylvania

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This article is a follow-up study of a sample subset from McMahon et al. (1999). This article examines the impact of a universal social–emotional learning program, the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum [now called The PATHS® Curriculum] and teacher consultation. The study examined the main effects of intervention as well as how outcomes were affected by characteristics of the child (baseline level of problem behavior, gender) and by the school environment (student poverty). The study involved a sets of schools randomized within 3 U.S. locations; the longitudinal analysis involved children of multiple ethnicities who remained in the same intervention or control schools for Grades 1, 2, and 3. Measures utilized include the Teacher Observation of Classroom Adaptation—Revised (TOCA–R), the Teacher Report Form of the Child Behavior Checklist, and the Social Health Profile (SHP). Results indicate modest positive effects of sustained PATHS exposure that included reduced aggression and increased prosocial behavior (according to both teacher and peer report) and improved academic engagement (according to teacher report). Peer report effects were moderated by gender, with significant effects only for boys. Most intervention effects were moderated by school environment, with effects stronger in less disadvantaged schools, and effects on aggression were larger with students who showed higher baseline levels of aggression. Limitations include the removal of the highest risk students from the sample (as they received additional interventions) – this may have impacted the school environment. In addition, differences across classrooms in teacher ratings of behavior may be less than accurate estimates and teachers and peer raters were not blinded to the condition assignment.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Malti, T., Ribeaud, D., & Eisner, M. P. (2011). The effectiveness of two universal preventive interventions in reducing children's externalizing behavior: A cluster randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 40(5), 677–692. https://doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2011.597084

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 1,675

Population:

  • Age — Mean=7.45 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were children entering Grade 1.

Location/Institution: Zurich, Switzerland

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This article reports the effectiveness of two universal prevention programs in reducing externalizing behavior in elementary school children. Schools were randomly allocated to one of the four treatment conditions (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies [PATHS; now called The PATHS® Curriculum], Triple-P, PATHS + Triple-P, control). Measures utilized include the Social Behavior Questionnaire (SBQ). Results indicate that intention-to-treat analyses revealed that long-term effects on teacher- and parent-rated externalizing behavior were greater for the PATHS than for the control group. However, for most outcomes, no statistically significant positive effects were observed. Limitations include missing data and results may not generalize to schools where children do not have the same teacher and peers across the first school grades, because teachers and students in Swiss schools are likely to have continued to use the PATHS skills.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 2 years.

Crean, H. F., & Johnson, D. B. (2013). Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) and elementary school aged children’s aggression: Results from a cluster randomized trial. American Journal of Community Psychology, 52, 56–72. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-013-9576-4

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 779

Population:

  • Age — Not Specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — 389 White/Caucasian, 291 African-American, 147 Hispanic, and 79 Other
  • Gender — 442 Female and 337 Male
  • Status — Participants were children in 3rd grade at the start of the study.

Location/Institution: 8 schools in a Northeastern urban school district, 4 in a Northeastern suburban school district, and 2 in a Midwestern suburban school district

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This study reports on aggressive outcomes from the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum [now called The PATHS® Curriculum]. Fourteen elementary schools were randomly assigned to an intervention or a control condition and third grade students were followed through the fifth grade. Measures include the Teacher Report on Students (TRS); Teacher-Child Rating Scales (TCRS); Aggression Conduct Problems Subscales, Teacher Version of the Behavior Assessment Scale for Children-2 (BASC-2), and the What Would I Do? assessment. Results indicate that PATHS had beneficial effects on student aggressive outcomes at the end of fifth grade. Teachers noted less aggressive behavior, less conduct problems, and less acting out problems. Limitations include students only received a portion of the PATHS curriculum (the intervention typically begins in Kindergarten or First grade, and some students entered the school after the intervention began), raters were not blind to condition, and lack of postintervention follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Panayiotou, M., Humphrey, N., & Hennessey, A. (2020). Implementation matters: Using complier average causal effect estimation to determine the impact of the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum on children’s quality of life. Journal of Educational Psychology, 112(2), 236–253. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000360

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 5,218

Population:

  • Age — 7–9 years (M= 8.12 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — 67.8% Caucasian, 11.2% Asian, 7.1% Afro-Caribbean, 5.5% Mixed Race, 2.7% Other/Unclassified race, 0.6% Chinese, and 5% Unknown
  • Gender — 51.4% Male
  • Status — Participants were children Year 3-5 in the English elementary school system.

Location/Institution: 45 schools in England

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This cluster randomized trial evaluated the impact of the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum [now called The PATHS® Curriculum] on children’s psychological well-being, peer social support, and school connectedness. Forty-five schools were randomly assigned to implement PATHS or continue their usual provision for 2 years. Measures utilized include the Kidscreen-27 (KS27); Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and the Social Skills Improvement System. Results indicate indicated that PATHS led to a small, statistically significantly improvement in children’s psychological wellbeing but had no discernible impact on their peer social support or school connectedness. Multilevel complier average causal effect estimation using dosage as a compliance marker increased PATHS effect size for psychological wellbeing and revealed significant medium to large effects for peer social support and school connectedness. Limitations include the use of solely self-reported outcome measures, raters were not blind to condition, unable to model teacher characteristics, because of the lack of classroom membership information for the control schools and the limitations of the implementation measure in that it provided only a relative “snapshot” of implementation.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 2 years.

Additional References

Kusché, C. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2006). Brain development and social-emotional learning: An introduction for educators. In M. J. Elias & H. Arnold, (Eds.), The educator's guide to emotional intelligence and academic achievement social-emotional learning in the classroom (pp. 15–34). Corwin Press.

Kusché, C. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2006). Teaching emotional literacy in elementary school classrooms: The PATHS Curriculum. In M. Elias & H. Arnold (Eds.), The educator's guide to emotional intelligence and academic achievement social-emotional learning in the classroom (pp.150–160). Corwin.

Kusché, C. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2012). The PATHS curriculum: Promoting emotional literacy, prosocial behavior, and caring classrooms. In S. R. Jimerson, A. B. Nickerson, M. J. Mayer, & M. J. Furlong (Eds.), The handbook of school violence and school safety: International research and practice (pp.435-446). Rutledge.

Contact Information

Carol A. Kusché, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: PATHS® Training LLC
Website: www.pathstraining.com/main
Email:
Phone: (206) 323-6688

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: July 2020

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2021

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2014