The first peak of emotional distress is during teenage, when children have limited abilities to address challenges following major biopsychosocial changes. In this study, we examined the preliminary effectiveness of a life skills training (LST) program modified on the basis of Taiwan school characteristics and children's life experiences compared to lectures oriented curriculum. We used the posttest-only control group design with 39 elementary schools, 21 randomly assigned to the experimental group, which received LST, and 18 to the control group, which received education as usual (EAU). There were 8 units in the LST, which consisted of 27 sessions. Demographics, depression, and emotional regulation were measured. Results show that students in the LST group reported significantly higher scores on cognitive reappraisals than those in the EAU group. Furthermore, LST was associated with reduction of depressive symptoms among males but not females. LST and its implications in the East Asian socio-cultural context, development of gender-responsive preventive programs, and the validity of the LST for helping children, are discussed.
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