Evidence Base for SPARK Resilience

Two versions of SPARK Resilience have been evaluated so far: the original version, developed for the London Borough of Newham, and a condensed version reconfigured for Japanese schools.  The studies found increases in resilience and self-efficacy, and a reduction in depression.
LONDON, UK, 2010
Version of programme: Original 12 x 60 minute sessions

Type of trial: Two-cohort treatment/control design, validated scales

When conducted: 2009-10

By: Michael Pluess (Queen Mary University of London), Ilona Boniwell (Anglia Ruskin University), Kate Hefferon (University of East London), Aneta Tunariu (University of East London)

Number of children: 438

Age and gender of children: 11-13 year-old girls

Measures used: The Resilience Scale (Wagnild G, Young H, 1993) – child self-report; Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (Radloff LS, 1977) – child self-report; teacher focus group

Major Findings: 

Quantitive study:

  • Significant increase in resilience at post-intervention, 6 and 12-month follow up
  • Significant decrease in depression at post-intervention and 6 month follow-up, not maintained at 12-month follow-up

Qualitative study:

Teachers perceived that the programme:

  • gave students an ‘emotional toolkit’
  • improved class climate
  • fostered empathy in students

Reference: Pluess M, Boniwell I, Hefferon K, Tunariu A (2017) Preliminary evaluation of a school-based resilience-promoting intervention in a high-risk population: Application of an exploratory two- cohort treatment/control design. PLoS ONE 12(5): e0177191
TOKYO, JAPAN, 2015-18

Version of programme: 6 x 60 minute sessions 

Type of trial: Three treatment cohorts, validated scales

When conducted: 2015-18

By: Chieko Kibe (Ochanomizu University, Tokyo), Miki Suzuki (Ikibunken Yume Gakuen, Tokyo), Mari Hirano (Tokyo Kasei University, Tokyo), Ilona Boniwell (Anglia Ruskin University)

Number of children: 407

Age and gender of children: 15-16 year olds, girls and boys

Measures used: Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg M, 1965), General Self-Efficacy Scale (Schwarzer R, Jerusalem M, 1995), Bidimensional Resilience Scale (Hirano M, 2010), Birleson Depression Self-Rating Scale for Children (Birleson P, 1981), Highly Sensitive Child Scale (Pluess M et al, 2017) – Japanese version

Major findings:

  • Self-efficacy increased
  • Greater increase in self-esteem and reduction in depression in highly sensitive students

Reference: Kibe C, Suzuki M, Hirano M, Boniwell I (2020) Sensory processing sensitivity and culturally modified resilience education: Differential susceptibility in Japanese adolescents. PLoS ONE 15(9): e0239002.