Impact of a Resilience Programme on Pupil Anxiety, Depression and Mental Toughness

Nicola Barrington, Rosie Hancock, Peter Clough


The United Arab Emirates National Vision 2021 aims to position the UAE as one of the top five happiest countries in the world. Positive psychology in schools will play a critical role in achieving this vision by enhancing the well-being of students through fostering character strengths, resilience, wellbeing and abilities. Despite the growth of positive psychology in the Middle East, efforts to test and assess its effectiveness remain scarce. We highlight the work of a resilience program to illustrate how it can further the development of positive psychology in the region. Experimental studies have investigated the impact of resilience programs in schools using anxiety and depression measures and correlational studies have explored the relationship between mental toughness and educational outcomes. Yet, no study has investigated the relationship between anxiety, depression and mental toughness, nor measured the impact of a resilience program on these three variables. To address these gaps, we conducted a 6-week experimental study to investigate the impact of the Weaving Well-being Tools of Resilience Programme on 134 Year 5 students in an Abu Dhabi primary school. Correlational analysis showed a strong, positive relationship between anxiety and depression (= .69, p < .001) and a strong negative relationship between mental toughness and anxiety (r = -.57, p < .001) and mental toughness and depression (= -.64, p < .001). Analysis of variance found that the resilience program had no significant effect. However, the potential for a school-based resilience program to deliver significant results remains. 


Resilience, Positive Education, Positive Psychology; United Arab Emirates; Mental Toughness

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