"Four different research studies (Dissertations: Kuhl 2011, Simon 2012, Poundstone’s 2013, Boer 2017) at the doctoral level have been conducted on the StrongGirlz program and Co- Chaired by Dr. Karen Farrell proving out the Program’s effectiveness as an interventional tool."
Additionally a study was performed and completed demonstrating that girls with positive body image were less likely to have low self esteem and suffer from relational aggression (bullying).
The first was an evaluation of the StrongGirlz program or efficacy research done at the six month post program interval which showed on three measures increases in both the use of and receipt of prosocial behavior (p < .001, p < .01), decreases in relational aggression (p < .01), and decreases in relational aggression and increases in prosocial behavior (p < .01, p < .005), (Kuhl, 2011). These findings are very significant. Efficacy research was replicated at the one year interval using a control group and found that there was a significant difference on the others-reported relational aggression construct between the experimental group (M = 20.6, SD = 9.6) and the control group (M = 30.8, SD = 10.7), t (24) = 2.5, p < .05. The results of the eta squared calculation were .204515, which demonstrates a large effect size (Poundstone, 2013).
A third study demonstrated a mediational relationship between body image, self esteem, and relational aggression. It showed that body image, self-esteem, and relational aggression are related, and all have a strong influence on middle school girls. A girl’s self-esteem actually determines whether or not she will experience overall relational aggression. Girls with more positive body images reported having higher self-esteem, which then led to girls reporting less overall relational aggression. While there is a relationship between body image and overall relational aggression, self-esteem is responsible for the predictive relationship between these variables (Simon, 2012).
‘A Grounded Theory Approach to Understanding Problems Adolescent Females Face and How They Handle Them’ again demonstrated the efficacy of StrongGirlz (Boer, 2017). Based on the data demonstrated in this study, students who participated in the StrongGirlz program are more likely to believe in themselves and their ability to manage the problem effectively. Students who were in the control group were better able to view relational aggression as an external problem rather than internal. Students, who did not participate in StrongGirlz or another social-emotional learning program, are more likely to view relational aggression as an internal problem, leading them to have lower self-esteem. Students who participated in StrongGirlz are more likely to utilize healthier coping methods including active coping and positive reframing as a way of managing their reactions to experiences with relational aggression compared to girls in the control group. This study demonstrated that girls who participated in StrongGirlz up to one year prior to this research utilized healthier methods of coping including active coping, acceptance, and positive reframing. Girls who did not participate in StrongGirlz most commonly used coping method was distraction.
The effectiveness of the StrongGirlz program observed in Kuhl’s (2010) and Poundstone’s (2013) dissertations is further supported by the results of this study. These results can be an indicator for the utility and efficacy of social-emotional learning programs, such as StrongGirlz, in helping girls develop increased levels of positive socialization skills. The data collected can also help to shape social-emotional learning programs to be realistic and relatable for the adolescent female population they serve so that participants are engaged in the program and find it relevant to their experiences. The research done on the StrongGirlz program has been presented at both the national and local levels and has been instrumental in securing grants from the State of Illinois focused on reducing bullying.