Compelling, credible, recent, direct impact data
Time to read
less than
1 minute
Read so far

Life Skills - Reduced Adolescent Anger, Depression, and Anxiety


Strategy researched

Life skills programmes that addressed adolescent health in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), including mental health

Impact achieved

Interventions were effective in reducing symptoms of anger (standardized mean difference (SMD) = 1.234), improving life skills (SMD = 0.755) and functioning (SMD = 0.491), and decreasing PTSD (SMD = 0.327), and depression and anxiety (SMD = 0.305). The results demonstrate the benefits of life skills programmes targeting one or more mental health outcomes and co-occurring risk factors in school and community settings.

Country of study


Research methodology

Systematic review of 33 RCTs


Behaviour Research and Therapy; 2020

Journal paper title and link

Implementation and effectiveness of adolescent life skills programs in low- and middle-income countries: A critical review and meta-analysis

Excerpt from Abstract

"Most of the RCTs, conducted across 19 LMICs, targeted students (82%) and refugees (7%), and both genders (71%). Most of the interventions were delivered by teachers (n = 12), and specialist providers (n = 11), and most were focused on high-risk groups rather than clinically-disordered populations. These interventions were effective in reducing symptoms of anger (SMD = 1.234), improving life skills (SMD = 0.755) and functioning (SMD = 0.491), and decreasing PTSD (SMD = 0.327), depression and anxiety (SMD = 0.305). Trial effectiveness was positively associated with the following life skills: interventions focused on parent-child interactions ([Beta (B)] = 0.557, p < 0.05), assessing interpersonal relations ([B] = 0.204, p < 0.05) and stress management ([B] = 0.216, p < 0.05)."


Add new comment

Your Priorities, Opportunities and Challenges? Complete the SURVEY

Why the focus on direct impact data?

A common challenge from policy makers, funders, community members, people directly experiencing development issues, and governments is: Demonstrate your Impact. Prove that what you are doing works. The high quality, highly credible data presented on the cards below is designed to help you answer that question for your social change, behaviour change, community engagement, communication and media for development, strategy formulation, policy engagement and funding initiatives. At this link filter the research data to your specific interests and priorities

Why a playing cards design?

There is a physical pack of cards with this data (to get a copy please request through the comment form for any card). The card approach allows for easy identification and selection of relevant direct impact data in any context. For example if talking with a donor and you need to identify proof of impact say "take a look at the 7 of Hearts". Quick access can be provided to high-quality data for many areas of your work – funding, planning, policy, advocacy, community dialogue, training, partner engagement, and more. A card deck is also engaging, easy to use and share, a conversation starter, and a resource - and they are fun and different. So we kept that design for the online images as it can serve similar purposes. 

What are the criteria for inclusion?

The impact data presented meets the following high standard for inclusion criteria:

  • Positive change or trend in a priority development issue;
  • Social change or behaviour change strategy or process;
  • Randomized Control Trial or Systematic Review methodology;
  • High quality peer review journal published;
  • Numeric impact data point
  • Published since 2010.