A Critical Contribution to the Theory, Method and Practice relating to School-based Mental Health Literacy Interventions and their Evaluation

  • Rosie Mansfield

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis makes a critical contribution to theory, method and practice relating to school-based mental health literacy (MHL) interventions and their evaluation. Gaps in the literature included a lack of critical evaluation of MHL research conducted with adolescents, comprehensive psychometric assessments to inform population specific, MHL-related measures, and research to better understand the mechanisms of change, cultural adaptation and implementation of school-based MHL interventions. To fill the identified gaps in the literature, four unique studies were developed adopting a range of methods and analyses in order to most appropriately answer the research questions. Study One was a systematic literature review of the existing conceptualisation and measurement of MHL in adolescent research. Study Two assessed the psychometric properties of a MHL-related measure, the Reported and Intended Behaviour Scale (RIBS), for use with adolescents. Study Three modelled educators’ perceived MHL and capacity to support students’ mental health, and the association with school-level characteristics and provision. Finally, Study Four was a qualitative study of cultural adaptations made and suggested by school staff to a Canadian MHL curriculum for the English school context. Overall, the thesis highlighted some challenges and inconsistencies in the field, and provided suggestions for the future conceptualisation and measurement of the MHL construct in adolescent research. It also provided evidence of the psychometric properties of two MHL-related measures, one for adolescents and one for educators. Gaps in educators’ perceived MHL and capacity were identified, and little variance was found to be explained by school-level characteristics and provision. Cultural adaptations identified in Study Four, informed recommendations for the future development of school-based MHL interventions such as immediately implementable lesson plans, adequate training, clear core components, and a level of flexibility to accommodate contextual and student characteristics.
Date of Award31 Dec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorNeil Humphrey (Supervisor)


  • implementation
  • evaluation
  • school-based mental health provision
  • conceptualisation
  • school-based mental health literacy interventions
  • measurement

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