Worcester

Below is an abstract from Donna Davis Report ‘An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Peer Massage in A Primary School’ Written October 2010, which was part of the 3 Year Tudor Trust MISA development fund.

IN A PRIMARY SCHOOL
ABSTRACT OF A REPORT BY DONNA DAVIS FOR MISA

Peer massage is a growing practice in UK Primary Schools, currently taking place at
around 1,000 establishments. MISA wanted to evaluate its effectiveness in a
quantifiable way, by testing the effects of short regular massage sessions in the
classroom on children’s behaviour and wellbeing.

Four classes at a Worcestershire Primary School took part in the study over six weeks
in the summer term 2010. Two Year 1 and two Year 6 classes participated with one
class in each age group assigned to receive instruction and practice in peer massage,
whilst the other received none.

Donna Davis, a qualified peer massage instructor, visited both the Year 1 and 6
Intervention classes weekly, leading sessions in peer massage with the children and
their teacher. A variety of massage techniques were introduced in accordance with
MISA’s peer massage programme. In between these instructional sessions, teachers
initiated further short, regular peer massage sessions as part of everyday classroom
routine in order to put into practice what had been learnt.

A standard measurement tool (Goodman’s Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire)
was applied to pupils in all four classes both before and after the six weeks of the
study, in order to obtain quantitative data for comparison. Pupils received scores for
behavioural difficulties (emotional symptoms, conducts problems,
hyperactivity/inattention, and peer relationships) and behavioural strengths (prosocial
behaviour). These data were also further processed to produce pupil profiles
rated as normal, borderline or abnormal. Qualitative feedback was obtained through
semi-structured teacher interviews, and written comments from pupils and parents.

The combined scores for both http://www.buyambienmed.com years showed a striking improvement of 54% in relation
to difficulties, and 6% for pro-social behaviour in the Intervention classes, which
contrasts with deteriorations in the Control classes of -7% and -11% for the same
attributes. This would suggest that peer massage contributed substantially to the
overall behaviour and wellbeing of those children who received it.

When the year group scores are broken down, there is an even more dramatic
improvement apparent for the Year 1 Intervention class, where improvements of 64%
for difficulties and 9% for strengths were recorded. Furthermore the consequences of
not receiving peer massage showed up more strongly in the Year 1 Control group,
suggesting that the early introduction of peer massage is especially desirable.

Particular benefits were observed in the Year 1 Intervention class in relation to
hyperactivity/inattention. Initially eight pupils presented as ‘abnormal’ in this area
but after six weeks of peer massage this had reduced to two. This group also showed
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marked improvement in Emotional Difficulties, where the number of children
presenting abnormal profiles reduced from six to zero.

The qualitative comments received from teachers, parents and pupils in the
Intervention groups were overwhelmingly positive, suggesting an extremely
favourable perception of peer massage.

Several recommendations would be desirable for similar studies in the future; keeping
the project away from the end of the academic year and all the associated disruption
to normal timetables and routines, a higher degree of standardisation of practice
sessions across the year groups, and a greater number of study participants (this
study had 111 across the four classes).

Donna Davis, October 2010 If you would like to contact Donna about her work please do so via
admin@misa.org.uk

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