Research Overview:

Evidence of Program Effectiveness

The PATHS® curriculum is one of the few Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs that has been well-researched using strong experimental designs. As a result, the PATHS® curriculum has received high recognition and recommendations from a number of different sources (PATHS® recognitions).


A series of randomized controlled trials with intervention vs. control groups (using one year of PATHS® curriculum implementation with pre, post, and follow-up data) have been conducted over the past two decades. These have included three different populations including deaf/hearing impaired, regular education, and special education-classified children (Greenberg & Kusché, 1993, 1998; 2004; Greenberg, Kusché, Cook, & Quamma, 1995; Kam, Greenberg, & Kusché, 2004; Riggs, Greenberg, Kusché and Pentz, 2006). Findings indicated that the PATHS® curriculum was successful in both significantly increasing protective factors for healthy development and in reducing behavioral and emotional problems.

Increasing Protective Factors

• In clinical trials, compared to a randomized control group, children who received one school year of the PATHS® curriculum showed significant improvements such as:

  • Students’ ability to recognize and understand emotions
  • Students’ social problem-solving skills
  • Teacher-rated prosocial behavior in the following domains: Self-control, emotional understanding, and ability to tolerate frustration.
  • Planning skills when solving complex tasks
  • Working memory
  • Decreased impulsivity
  • Reading achievement in deaf students.

Reducing Maladaptive Outcomes 

In clinical trials, compared to a randomized control group, children who received one school year of the PATHS® curriculum showed significant reductions in:

  • Teacher-rated aggressive and disruptive behaviors at post-test and one-year follow-up
  • Student reported depression (among students who showed elevated levels at pre-test)
  • Teachers-rated internalizing symptoms (sadness, anxiety, and withdrawal)

PATHS® Curriculum Outcomes 
Grade 2 and 3 Intervention (After 1 Year of Intervention)

Special Needs Students

Child Reported Depressive Symptoms
(Child Depression Inventory; Kovacs, 1992)

Teacher Reported Externalizing Behavior Problems (Teacher Report Form of the Child Behavior Checklist; Achenbach, 1991)

Special needs students who received PATHS™ showed decreased self-report of depressive symptoms. (Kam, Greenberg & Kusche, 2004)

Special needs students who received PATHS™ showed a decreased trajectory for problem behavior two years post-PATHS™. (Kam, Greenberg & Kusche, 2004)


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