Cultural Challenges in Adapting SWPBIS to a Dutch Context

Monique J.M. Nelen*, T. Martijn Willemse, Margreet A. van Oudheusden, Sui Lin Goei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The transfer and adoption of school-wide approaches, like School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS), from one country to another, is an underexamined process. SWPBIS was mainly developed in the US. Although research shows that implementation of SWPBIS contributes to a positive school climate and a decrease in problem behavior, little is known about the generalizability of the effects in other countries. Of special interest is the role of underlying cultural values and concepts as reflected in SWPBIS. This can influence the acceptance of teachers and principals when implementing SWPBIS in another country. SWPBIS procedures need to be adjusted to the educational context where it is implemented. As a consequence, fidelity of implementation can be at stake when adjustments affect not only SWPBIS procedures (e.g., the way expected behavior is taught) but also core features (e.g., teaching of behavior). In this study, we explored cultural adaptation efforts in the Netherlands. We have drawn on perceptions of Dutch SWPBIS experts. In two sessions, 12 and then 10 experts were questioned. Results suggested that core features of SWPBIS seemed to be quite consistent across cultures, but adaptations in procedures were necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-115
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Positive Behavior Interventions
Issue number2
Early online date17 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • generalization
  • positive behavior support
  • school-wide intervention


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