Examining the Moderating Effects of Poverty on the Implementation and Outcomes of the Good Behaviour Game

  • Kirsty Frearson

Student thesis: Phd


The Good Behaviour Game (GBG) is a US universal preventive intervention that has promising social and emotional outcomes for children, particularly males with high baseline levels of disruptive behaviour (e.g. Kellam et al., 2008; Petras et al., 2008; Poduska et al., 2008). The GBG has a large literature base with much of the previous research conducted in high poverty locations. However, there has been little investigation into how such a contextual factor could affect both the implementation of the intervention as well as its outcomes, particularly the differential outcomes for children experiencing poverty. The present study utilised a cluster-randomised control trial design, with pupils in Year 3 (ages 7-8) as the target cohort at the start of the project (N= 3084). Seventy seven schools were randomly allocated to either the intervention condition (N=38) or the usual practice condition (N=39). Delivery of the GBG started in September 2015 and ended in July 2019. Teachers in both conditions rated pupils’ disruptive behaviour using the Teacher Observation of Children’s Adaptation Checklist (TOCA-C: Koth, Bradshaw, & Leaf, 2009) at yearly intervals throughout the study. Implementation (in this case fidelity and dosage) was assessed through a yearly structured observation and teachers recording intervention sessions through an electronic scoreboard. Poverty at the individual level was determined through a pupil’s free school meal (FSM) status. School-level poverty was determined through grouping schools into moderate or high poverty categories based on the percentage of the population receiving FSM. Using multilevel modelling, the study found an interaction between individual-level poverty, school-poverty and the GBG, suggesting that children who were experiencing poverty and attending a high poverty school would have a small increase in disruptive behaviour. Meanwhile, three implementation profiles were identified through cluster analysis: (low dosage, medium fidelity; medium dosage, medium fidelity, high dosage, high fidelity). However, it was determined that poverty did not moderate the implementation of the GBG. Further research should consider investigating the role of organisational capacity as a factor that influences the implementation of interventions such as the GBG when testing their effectiveness in school settings.
Date of Award31 Dec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorNeil Humphrey (Supervisor) & Michael Wigelsworth (Supervisor)


  • Behaviour management
  • Disruptive Behaviour
  • Good Behaviour Game
  • FSM
  • Preventative intervention
  • Poverty

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