MISP Research

The study

This study evaluates the MISP when provided to a class of P2 children and specifically examines two factors that are claimed to improve following participation in the programme – concentration and self-esteem. This was compared to a control group of P3 children, who were provided with an activity of similar duration, with story telling and working in pairs. The study took place over a six week period.

Concentration was measured using repeated observations every 60 seconds during a 30-minute period to determine if they were on-task or off-task. Self-esteem was measured using Behavioural Indicators of Self-esteem (BIOS) questionnaires, completed by the class teachers.

The views of teachers, parents and children who participated in the MISP were gathered to assess their perception of the programme and any changes in other aspects of behaviour.


Data analysis confirmed that P2 pupils who participated in the MISP over a six-week period made significant improvements in concentration, compared to the control group. The P2 pupils showed a significant gain in self-esteem, but there were similar gains in the control group. The MISP was viewed positively by the majority of stakeholders.

Because of the marked improvement in concentration (which improved from the first MISP session and stayed high throughout the six weeks), the study recommends that the MISP continue to be maintained and developed within Renfrewshire, where it is currently implemented in 18 schools.

Taylor and Francis

'Moving against the grain? Investigating the efficacy of a touch-based intervention in a climate of suspicion'



'This article considers the implications of a small‐scale research project, undertaken by the authors, which used the example of the Massage in Schools Programme (a simple peer massage programme) to ascertain whether the planned use of touch‐based activity can support the growth of social and emotional skills in the primary classroom. Such claims are considered within the context of a modern society that is ill at ease with touch. Data, including observations of children and interviews with children and staff, were collected in two primary school classrooms pre, during and post the introduction of a six‐week massage programme, led by Massage in Schools practitioners. The findings of this project demonstrate that the number of social relationships reported by children did increase post intervention. The article goes on to consider the possible mechanisms by which this was achieved and features of the classroom context that may mediate the impact of the intervention. The authors conclude that a touch‐based intervention such as the Massage in Schools Programme may have a positive and potentially educational value for children and schools and support the growth of social and emotional skills'.

Click here to access this study (must be registered with Taylor and Francis Online)

TaMHS Project

'Massage in Schools Programme (MISP) – Evaluation in Northamptonshire TaMHS Project'

Evaluations of interventions between April 2009 - March 2011


'The combination of quantitative and qualitative results from the MISP evaluation that involved teachers, support staff, parents and pupils, suggests that MISP can have a positive impact on the mental health of pupils, especially in terms of their self-esteem, friendships, pro-social skills, conduct problems, and class becoming more of a team and being calm. There is some indication of increased impact on engagement with learning, including with children who are vulnerable to mental health difficulties'.

Click here to read full evaluation (PDF)

Donna Davis

'An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Peer Massage in a Primary School'


(Abstract of a report by Donna Davis for MISA)

The combined scores for both years showed a striking improvement of 54% in relation to difficulties, and 6% for pro-social behaviour in the Intervention classes, which contrasts with deteriorations in the Control classes of -7% and -11% for the same attributes. This would suggest that peer massage contributed substantially to the overall behaviour and wellbeing of those children who received it.

Click here to download the full report (PDF)

‘The Renfrewshire “Massage in Schools” Programme
(MISP): An Evaluation of its Impact in a Primary School’

May 2005

Click here to download the full study (PDF)

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