KidsMatter Primary is underpinned by decades of solid research about mental health and wellbeing and the benefits of social and emotional learning in schools.

It is informed by major international frameworks such as the World Health Organization’s Health Promoting Schools approach. World Health Organization

It also draws upon the strong research base indicating that greater mastery of social and emotional learning improves students’ personal development, readiness to learn, classroom behaviour, and academic performance. This has been well summarised by CASEL Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.

KidsMatter Primary is committed to ongoing research and evaluation to ensure that we're providing the best outcomes for Australian children.

KidsMatter Primary evaluation

Between 2006 and 2008 KidsMatter Primary was piloted with almost 5000 children in 100 schools across Australia.

The 2009 Flinders University evaluation of this trial clearly showed that KidsMatter has a positive impact on schools, staff, children, parents and carers. For example, we learnt that:

  • There were improvements in students’ mental health and wellbeing (things like optimism and coping skills)
  • Students experienced fewer mental health difficulties (for example, emotional or social or behavioural difficulties)
  • There were also positive effects on school work.

A subsequent study has found a positive link between successfully implementing KidsMatter Primary and improved NAPLAN results.

For more information please see:


KidsMatter Primary regularly develops and contributes to a range of publications. We want to promote all the great work schools are doing to support the mental health and wellbeing of their students.

These publications inform the general public and wider research community about the success of KidsMatter, and influence new mental health initiatives and services for children around the world.

KidsMatter Primary evaluation

The KidsMatter Primary pilot was evaluated by Flinders University of South Australia. Their findings show KidsMatter Primary had a positive impact on schools, children, parents and carers.

The Executive Summary [938KB]Executive Summary [KB] [Word] provides an overview of the findings with more information provided in the Full Report [3MB]Full report [KB] [Word].

General publications


KidsMatter Primary has published a number of articles in peer-reviewed journals as part of the pilot evaluation.

These articles have been reproduced with the permission of the International Journal of Mental Health Promotion.

This article has been reproduced with the permission of Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Conference papers

Research register

KidsMatter Primary welcomes the opportunity to work with researchers in the education, health or psychology sectors to coordinate and support research that focuses on the processes and outcomes of KidsMatter at a local, state or national level.

Register your interest in undertaking a research project

If you are interested in undertaking research that focuses on the processes or impact of KidsMatter Primary, or have a research proposal or idea, please contact Dr Katherine Dix by completing and submitting the Register your research interest form.

Current research projects






O’Neill, J.,
Flinders University

An analysis of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian responses to the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: Conceptualising mental health



Hewitt, B.
Flinders University

Investigate connections between KMEC and the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF).



SWAPv Centre,
Flinders University

VIC Health Grant: Mental health promotion in Victorian schools

VIC Health Grant


Dix, K.L.
Flinders University

KidsMatter Early Childhood and children with a disability



Brisbane Catholic Education Office

Outcomes for schools doing SWPBS and KidsMatter Primary


KidsMatter research publications and conference presentations

KidsMatter Primary has been thoroughly evaluated [938KB] and the subject of numerous journal articles, book chapters and conference presentations. Examples include the following:

Dix, K.L., Askell-Williams, H. & Lawson, M.J. (2008). Different measures, different informants, same outcomes? Investigating multiple perspectives of primary school students’ mental healthPaper presented at the Annual Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education, Brisbane, December

Dix, K.L., Keeves, J.P., Slee, P.T., Lawson, M.J., Russell, A., Askell-Williams, H., Owens, L., Skrzypiec, G., & Spears, B. (2010). KidsMatter Primary Evaluation Technical Report and User GuideAdelaide: Shannon Research Press

Dix, K.L., Shearer, J., Slee, P.T. & Butcher, C. (2010). KidsMatter for Students with a Disability: Evaluation ReportMinisterial Advisory Committee: Students with Disabilities, Adelaide

Dix, K.L., Slee, P.T., Lawson, M.J. & Keeves, J.P. (2012). Implementation quality of whole-school mental health promotion and students’ academic performance. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 17 (1), 45–51

Lawson, M.J., Askell-Williams, H. Dix, K.L., Slee, P.T., Skrzypiec, G., Spears, B. (2009) Implementing a new initiative in mental health in Australian Primary schoolsPaper presented at the Annual Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education, Canberra, December

O'Neill, J. (2011) Conceptualising mental health and wellbeing: An analysis of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal parent responses to the strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Honours Thesis, Flinders University

Slee, P.T., Lawson, M.J., Russell, A., Askell-Williams, H., Dix, K.L., Owens, L., Skrzypiec, G., Spears, B. (2009). KidsMatter Primary Evaluation - Full Report [3MB]pdf (pdf) beyondblue: Melbourne