Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Stacy L. Frazier

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Erica Musser

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Jeremy Pettit

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Catherine Coccia

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


mental health promotion, emotion regulation, prevention, anxiety, depression

Date of Defense



Rates of internalizing disorders in childhood are around 10% and higher among racial/ethnic minority youth and youth living in poverty. Targeting empirically derived processes associated with anxiety and depression may be an efficient and effective way to minimize risks for internalizing symptoms and impairment. Deficits in emotion regulation (e.g., increased use of emotional suppression, decreased use of cognitive reappraisal) are associated with anxiety and depression in youth and improve with treatment. The current study examined the acceptability and promise of an intervention targeting these emotion regulation strategies in the context of an after-school music program. Reflecting a community-based participatory research approach, a community advisory structure involving program staff and families developed intervention and research design and implementation. Through a cluster randomized controlled trial, the study examined the promise of an Emotion Regulation Skills Intervention (ERSI) across three sites within the after-school program. Intervention activities were integrated into the standard music curriculum. Of the youth enrolled in intervention and control classrooms (n=70 intervention, n=60 control), 27 youth in the intervention condition and 15 youth in the control condition completed measures of internalizing problems, emotion regulation strategies, social functioning, and life satisfaction at baseline and post-intervention. Overall, youth reported high levels of satisfaction with ERSI activities (eight of nine activities received more ratings of satisfaction than dissatisfaction). Findings suggest ERSI did not have a significant effect on internalizing symptoms but did lead to decreased use of emotional suppression, improved social functioning, and increased life satisfaction for youth who participated compared to youth in the control condition. Thus, the current study provides preliminary evidence of the acceptability and promise of integrating emotion regulation skills building activities within after school programming.





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