Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Cheryl Ann Cait

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Anne Westhues

Advisor Role



A current gap in the literature exists with regard to formulating a holistic view of contextual factors involved in school-based prevention programming implementation. The purpose of this grounded theory study is to further explore how multilevel ecological and cross-system factors influence prevention program implementation. This study builds on development of a theory to guide the practices for preventive program implementation with fidelity. The Integrated Program (IP) conceptual framework, initiated in an earlier paper (Schmidt Hanbidge, 2009) identified key program contextual and motivational factors that critically influence prevention program implementation. Taken from an ecological perspective, the IP framework incorporates multi-levels of systems from the individual, to organization, to the community contexts.

Twenty-four interviews were conducted in two stages with school program facilitators, school principals, and program administrators delivering a prevention program, STEAM (Skills & Tools for Emotion Awareness and Management) in elementary schools in southern Ontario, Canada. Theoretical sampling was utilized and data was analyzed and coded, aided by the program, QSR Nvivo. Grounded theory was the research methodology used in this study to refine the IP conceptual framework for implementation of school-based emotion regulation programs.

The study determined several contextual and motivational factors that facilitated program implementation, such as: open communication/support from key stakeholders, adequate program resources (including time and space), knowledgeable, experienced training and skilled supervision for program facilitators. The study identified how several contextual factors were considered to be barriers to the implementation process and could threaten the fidelity of the program.

The study adds to the prevention literature by identifying how the program facilitators progress through an evolutionary process as they become more experienced. They typically start out as program facilitators, thereafter becoming role models, then mentors, then finally experts.

This study identifies ways to integrate the specific contextual and motivational factors in the implementation process of the school-based prevention programs. The IP framework was refined, based on the study data, to recognize the effect of "differentiated" program delivery. During implementation, study participants identified and adapted the prevention program to "fit" the specific school environment which aided in the sustainability of their program.

Convocation Year


Included in

Social Work Commons