Good Behaviour Game
The Good Behaviour Game has been shown to reduce multiple mental health symptoms across multiple disorders (conduct disorder, ADHD, depression, anxiety) but has not been implemented in an Australian context.
- Determine the feasibility of implementing the Good Behaviour Game, led by teachers in Australian primary schools
- Assess teachers’ beliefs about the acceptability of the Good Behaviour Game as a universal prevention programme and
- Determine the feasibility of collecting peer network data from Year 2 students
The Good Behaviour Game (GBG) Trial will assess the feasibility and acceptability of the 10-week universal prevention programme, delivered by teachers during usual class lessons. Six Australian primary schools (4 NSW; 2 VIC) will take part in the research trial (approx. 220 students and 12 teachers). Data from teacher self-report surveys and programme fidelity sources (e.g., Android monitoring platform, classroom observation) will be used to establish whether the GBG is a viable strategy for promoting mental health in Australian students. The findings from this trial will provide important justification for wider scale implementation and identify potential barriers to uptake in schools.
The GBG is based on the principle of behavioural and emotional regulation through delayed, shared reward (positive reinforcement). Additionally, the programme aims to increase engagement with at-risk students, identified using validated screening tools. The GBG was developed to reduce the life-long risk of mental disorders, improve behavioural problems and improve academic outcomes. For example, the GBG has the potential to improve peer networks among participants by creating opportunities for interaction between students who may not normally connect. Research suggests that larger social networks and reduced feelings of isolation may protect against mental health problems arising in childhood and at later stages. Importantly, this study also seeks to collect peer network data from students exposed to the GBG, to validate that such data can be reliably collected from such a young age group.
History of the project
A strong international evidence base supports the effectiveness of the GBG as a behavioural management strategy and a universal prevention approach to mental disorders.
Previous studies have evidenced short-term benefits including improved academic skills and reduced disruptive behaviours (e.g., aggression, verbal interruptions and out-of-seat behaviours) (e.g., see Bowman-Perrott, Burke et al., 2015; Flower et al., 2014). The benefits of early participation in the GBG extend beyond the classroom and offer life-long protective effects for students’ mental health and well-being. In particular, longitudinal studies support the role of GBG in reducing smoking, substance abuse, psychological service use and suicidal ideation (Kellam et al., 2011; Bradshaw et al., 2009).
The GBG has not been implemented in Australia despite its availability as an evidence-based strategy for teachers to manage students and build resilience with minimal burden on resources or teacher workload.
A pre-test/post-test single arm trial involving 4 Independent primary schools in greater Sydney, NSW and 2 public schools in Warrnambool, VIC (total sample N=220 students; N=12 teachers) will be conducted. All schools will receive the intervention.
Feasibility and acceptability data will be collected at three measurement occasions: 1. Pre-intervention (data collected: teacher-rating psychopathology screener + social networking); 2. Halfway during-intervention (social network data only) and; 3. Post-intervention (data collected: teacher-rating psychopathology screener + social networking).
Society for Mental Health Research Early Career Scholar Award ($20,000)
- Bowman-Perrott, L., Burke, M. D., Zaini, S., Zhang, N., & Vannest, K. (2015). Promoting positive behaviour using the Good Behaviour Game: A meta-analysis of single-case research. Journal of Positive Behaviour Intervention, 18, 180-190
- Flower, A., McKenna, J. W., Bunuan, R. L., Muething, C. S., & Vega Jr, R. (2014). Effects of the Good Behaviour Game on challenging behaviours in school settings. Review of Educational Research, 84, 546-571
- Kellam, S. G., Mackenzie, A. C. L., Brown, C. H., Poduska, J. M., Wang, W., Petras, H., & Wilcox, H. C. (2011). The Good Behaviour Game and the future of prevention and treatment. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 6, 73-84
- Bradshaw, C. P., Zmuda, J. H., Kellam, S. G., & Ialongo, N. S. (2009). Longitudinal impact of two universal preventive interventions in first grade on educational outcomes in high school, Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 926-937