Extending School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) with Emotional Support Systems

A Non-Randomized Study Testing the Effectiveness of a School-Wide Health Care Policy TIME-IN in Special Education

Keywords: school readiness, school-wide health care policy, emotion regulation, internalising problems, externalising problems


Children’s readiness for school is often threatened by the occurrence of both externalising (EP) and internalising (IP) problems. In search for solutions, research has shown that School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) is particularly effective for fostering children’s behavioural skills and reducing EP. However, whether SWPBS can enhance children’s emotional skills and reduce IP is less clear. Therefore, TIME-IN was developed, which extends SWPBS by also including emotional support systems. It will be tested whether TIME-IN is effective for (a) improving emotion regulation (ER) and (b) reducing depressive symptoms. Furthermore, it will be tentatively explored whether TIME-IN is accompanied by more than natural fluctuations in both children’s EP and IP. The effectiveness of TIME-IN will be evaluated in a non-randomized study, in which an intervention group will be compared with a matched control group. Both research questions will be addressed in a sample consisting of children between 8 and 12 years of age with special educational needs (SEN), who have been argued to benefit most from school readiness interventions. Questionnaires for teachers, children, and their parents will be administered at the beginning (T0) and the end of the school year (T1) using multi-informant assessment. Practical implications, strengths, and limitations were discussed. ISCRTN registry 54456609.Registered on 28 March 2017. Ethical requirements were fulfilled.

Author Biographies

Henk Weymeis, PhD Student

Henk Weymeis is a PhD student in Developmental Psychopathology. Currently, he completes his doctoral project in the Department of Developmental, Personality, and Social Psychology at Ghent University, Belgium. His research interests include positive behaviour support and well-being promotion in special and regular education.


Karla Van Leeuwen, Professor

Karla Van Leeuwen is a professor in the Parenting and Special Needs Education Research Unit, KU Leuven, Belgium. As a researcher, she is interested in the field of parenting and family issues and conducts research on parenting, giving consideration to child and family characteristics.

Caroline Braet, Full Professor

Caroline Braet is a full professor in the Department of Developmental, Personality, and Social Psychology at Ghent University, Belgium. She is teaching developmental and clinical aspects of childhood therapy and is researching programmes for children. She also serves as the coordinator, supervisor and a therapist at the Children’s University Hospital at Ghent University where she provides childhood obesity consultation and at the Ghent University Child Mental Health Center.

Study Protocols