top of page
Middle School Class


Extensive research shows the efficacy of using The Heroic Journey’s relatable tools — pop culture, combined with evidence-based psychology — to teach SEL. The Heroic Journey is based in part on the following research, compiled by Coalition Chief Psychologist Dr. Janina Scarlet and Dr. Scott Allison:


  • The Personal Hero Technique: A Therapeutic Strategy That Promotes Self-Transformation and Interdependence / Andrew M. Bland (2017).

  • Children's Attitudes Toward Superheroes as a Potential Indicator of Their Moral Understanding. Journal of Moral Education, 36(2), 239-250 / Martin, J. F. (2007). 

  • Trauma Recovery: A Heroic Journey / Brenda Keck, Lisa Compton, Corie Schoeneberg, and Tucker Compton

  • Trauma and Recovery: Finding the Ordinary Hero in Fictional Recovery Narratives / Lynn Gumb (2018). 

  • Inspiring altruism: reflecting on the personal relevance of emotionally evocative prosocial media characters. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43(11) / Farsides, T., Pettman, D., & Tourle, L. (2013). 

  • Children's Response to a Sexual Abuse Prevention Program: A Study of the Spiderman Comic / Garbarino, J. (1987). 11(1), 143-148.

  • The Greatest Magic of Harry Potter: Reducing Prejudice / Loris Vezzali1, Sofia Stathi2, Dino Giovannini1, Dora Capozza3, Elena Trifiletti4 (2014).

  • Reading Harry Potter: Popular Culture, Queer Theory and The Fashioning of Youth Identity Journal of Systemic Therapies / 26(2):13-24 / Nylund, D. (2007). 

  • Energized by Television: Familiar Fictional Worlds Restore Self-Control / Social Psychological and Personality Science / Derrick, J. (2013). 



Research through The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning shows that the type of skills in The Heroic Journey positively affect students’ lives in the following areas as much as 18 years after participation in an SEL program:


  • Better attendance, test scores, grades, and acceptance into higher education

  • Improved classroom behavior

  • Better attitudes about themselves, others, and school

  • Increased ability to manage stress and depression

  • More satisfactory career and personal relationships

  • Increased job and career success, including earnings

bottom of page