An Investigation into the Efficacy of On-line Counselling Interventions for Distressed Primary School Students and Parents

Project Number
RI 7/13 KPL

Project Duration
July 2014 - December 2016


This study is an extension of an existing research project led by A/P Angeline Khoo, on group-based peer-mentoring intervention using Dr Park Yuhyun’s IzHero exhibition and on-line gaming program. A/P Khoo’s project (AcRF RI 4/11 AK) was the first project aimed at evaluating the efficacy of group based interventions. Unlike A/P Khoo’s project which is preventive in nature, this proposed study is curative in that it aims to customize on-line counselling intervention services to the needs of distressed 9 to 12 year old primary school children and their parents. This research is novel and timely because to date there has been limited research into the practice of on-line counselling in Singapore, despite its growing prevalence. Furthermore, the Cyber Wellness portal of IZ Hero was launched in May this year to help educate children and parents about the dangers of Cyberspace and how to protect themselves. The Ask IZ Master portion of the IZ Hero portal will be developed to help children and parents who are distressed by Cyberbullies and other cyber predators, to cope with the emotional impact of these issues. Studies have shown that victims of cyber bullying have a higher likelihood of reporting a higher rate of depression, somatization, and psychiatric referrals as compared to their peer groups (Ybarra & Mitchell, 2004, Tynes, 2007). Bartett and Gentile (2012) showed that cyber bullying predicts increased proactive relational aggressive behaviour, which generates and increases feelings of stress. This perceived stress predicts increased feelings of victimization, which drives the cyclic process of anger and aggression. The mixed quantitative and qualitative study therefore aims to (1) compare and contrast the different kinds of on-line counselling such as on-line chat, audio and video counselling; (2) evaluate the effectiveness of on-line counselling for different types of Cyber Wellness issues for each category of student problems, and (3) identify counsellors’ experiences and learning needs in delivering On-line counselling services. The results of this study would therefore provide additional knowledge on how best to deliver Cyber Wellness intervention to children and parents, as well as help counselor educators gain insights into the preparation of counsellors for this increasing popular counselling modality.

Funding Source

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