Mental wellbeing is influenced by self-regulation processes. However, little is known on the efficacy of change techniques based on self-regulation to promote mental wellbeing. The aim of this meta-analysis is to identify effective self-regulation techniques (SRTs) in primary and secondary prevention interventions on mental wellbeing in adolescents. Forty interventions were included in the analyses. Techniques were coded into nine categories of SRTs. Meta-analyses were conducted to identify the effectiveness of SRTs, examining three different outcomes: internalising behaviour, externalising behaviour, and self-esteem. Primary interventions had a small-to-medium ((Formula presented.) = 0.16–0.29) on self-esteem and internalising behaviour. Secondary interventions had a medium-to-large short-term effect (average (Formula presented.) = 0.56) on internalising behaviour and self-esteem. In secondary interventions, interventions including asking for social support (Formula presented.) 95% confidence interval, CI = 1.11–1.98) had a great effect on internalising behaviour. Interventions including monitoring and evaluation had a greater effect on self-esteem (Formula presented.) 95% CI = 0.21–0.57). For primary interventions, there was not a single SRT that was associated with a greater intervention effect on internalising behaviour or self-esteem. No effects were found for externalising behaviours. Self-regulation interventions are moderately effective at improving mental wellbeing among adolescents. Secondary interventions promoting ‘asking for social support’ and promoting ‘monitoring and evaluation’ were associated with improved outcomes. More research is needed to identify other SRTs or combinations of SRTs that could improve understanding or optimise mental wellbeing interventions.

, , , , ,,
Health Psychology Review
Department of Public Health

van Genugten, L., Dusseldorp, E., Massey, E., & van Empelen, P. (2017). Effective self-regulation change techniques to promote mental wellbeing among adolescents: a meta-analysis. Health Psychology Review, 11(1), 53–71. doi:10.1080/17437199.2016.1252934