5.4.1 Robust Results from Life Skills Interventions are Still Scarce and Remain Inconclusive

Despite the increasing consensus around the importance of socio-emotional skills, there remains a serious gap in intervention research that proves that these skills can be taught and that provides concrete guidance on what type of interventions are most promising, especially in developing countries (see table 4.1).

Table 4.1: Selected Evaluation Results of Life/Social Skills Programming





Developed countries


Bandy, T. and Moore, K.

What works for Promoting and Enhancing Positive Social Skills

Reviews 38 rigorously evaluated programs and finds overall positive results.


Durlak et al.

The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions

Reviews 213 school-based programs and finds improvements in skills, attitudes, behavior, and academic performance


Durlak et al.

A Meta-Analysis of After-School Programs That Seek to Promote Personal and Social Skills in Children and Adolescents

Reviews 75 evaluation reports and finds increases in participants’ bonding to school, positive social behaviors, academic performance and achievement, and reductions in problem behaviors.

Developing countries


Groh et al.

Soft Skills or Hard Cash? The impact of training and wage subsidy programs on female youth employment in Jordan

Soft skills training improved positive thinking and mental health but was found to have no average impact on employment.

Dominican Republic

Ibarraran et al.

Life Skills, Employability and Training for Disadvantaged Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation Design

Program improved several non-cognitive skills, but there was only weak evidence that the life skills measures used were associated to better labor market performance.

Latin America

International Youth Foundation

Final Report on the entra21 Pro­gram Phase I 2001-2007.

Employers reported that pro­gram participants had a greater ability to take responsibility and work in teams than their other employees.