Gloria Gaynor was an early proponent of resilience, winning many converts with her reflections on ‘how you did me wrong I grew strong, and I learned how to get along’. Tapping into this – resilience, not ‘70s disco – to improve mental health outcomes is a growing concept, but does evidence support this sensible, if sometimes loosely defined, idea? Dray et al provide a timely systematic review of 57 randomised controlled trials of universal resilience-focused interventions targeting children and adolescents in school settings. Meta-analysis showed that, compared with control conditions, interventions were effective in reducing depressive symptoms, internalising and externalising problems, and general distress, but not anxiety, hyperactivity or conduct problems. However, there was variation between age groups and duration of intervention. Not all data were amenable to meta-analysis – the inability to divide results by gender being noteworthy – but these findings support the principle of general resilience-focused preventive programmes in this cohort.
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