The ability of adolescents to cope with stressful life events has notbeen well developed. Facing stressfulsituations might trigger them to engage in many dangerous and self-destructivebehaviors. Life skills program in improving mental health of adolescents has been proven in many countries, as it has in Indonesia. In post-disaster situation, there is rarelyany community program which focuses on adolescent mental health. Life skillsprogram is a psychological intervention to teach adolescents to improve theirskill to cope with stress, develop self-esteem, deal with peer pressure, thinkcritically, communicate appropriately and act assertively. Teachers and localhealth professionals who have already been trained about life skills programapply this program in adolescents experiencing a stressful event, a naturaldisaster from the eruption of Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta-Indonesia. This studyattempts to apply and evaluate the effectiveness of the program for adolescentswho had survived a natural disaster in Yogyakarta-Indonesia. Three-weeks lifeskills training was conducted in 2012 on 40 junior and senior high schoolstudents, post Mount Merapi eruption in Yogyakarta and Magelang. Subjects wereassessed for their self-image using Rosenberg self-image questionnaire, andtheir emotional-behavioral problems and mental strength using Strength andDifficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), before and after the training. SPSS was usedfor the statistical analysis. The average age of the subjects was 14.48 +1.21 years old. There were significant differences on the self-esteem andmental strength aspects of the subjects before and after intervention. Score onlow self-esteem was improved (p=0.005), negative self perception also becamebetter (p<0.001), and prosocial behavior was increased (p=0.001). There werealso decreasing difficulties and emotional-behavioral problem score afterintervention, and other aspects of self-esteem such as instability andself-consciousness. Life skills training has several positive effects inimproving mental strength and self-image and decreasing emotional andbehavioral problems of adolescents post-disaster.
- Adolescents, Life skills, Self-esteem, Emotional-behavioral problems, Mental health