School-Based Opportunities for Adolescent Recovery (SOARing): Preliminary Feasibility of a Tier 2 DBT-Based Skills Program for At-Risk Adolescents Residing in an Underserved Community

Adolescents living in poverty are more likely to experience intense and/or multiple stressors during childhood (Evans & Kim, 2012). These increases in stress levels can lead to patterns of pervasive emotion dysregulation which, in turn, can affect academic achievement (Ivcevic & Brackett, 2014). Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a promising intervention that can target emotion dysregulation and other symptomatology in adolescents (Miller et al., 2006). Although DBT has gained traction in the treatment of adolescent suicide and self-harm (Glenn et al., 2019), it has yet to be tested as an early intervention in a school-based setting (Fasulo et al., 2015; MacPherson et al., 2012). The purpose of this study is to examine the preliminary feasibility of a tier 2 DBT skills group intervention for adolescents in a school-based context. It was anticipated that adolescents receiving the DBT-based intervention would experience an overall positive opinion of group sessions for each session. We used post-session survey evaluation forms to track youth feedback about the intervention. We also hypothesized that the DBT-based intervention would have a positive impact on youth, measured by reduced scores on the Youth Outcomes Questionnaire – Self Report (YOQ-SR). Group sessions were rated positively overall (M = 3.28 out of 4) and preliminary effectiveness yielded a drop in scores but was nonsignificant. Project SOARing revealed promising, preliminary results that warrant further investigation.