Exploration of Generalization Effects of Social Skills Training in Children.
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- Psychology; developmental
thesis / dissertation description
The generalization effects of social skills training (consisting of instructions, feedback, behavior rehearsal, and modeling) were examined in a multiple baseline design across settings and across subjects. The five male and female subjects, ranging in age between 10 and 13 years, were referred for treatment by teachers and parents because of difficulties with interpersonal relationships. Response latency, ratio of eye-contact to speech duration, intonation, smiles, gestures, verbalizations in five content areas and overall social skills were the target behaviors selected for modification within the clinic setting. Teacher and parent ratings of interpersonal behaviors considered problematic for each subject and sociometric measures of acceptance and rejection served as generalization measures assessed in the school and home settings. Pre- and post-training measures of self-concept were obtained for each subject. The effects of homework assignments designed to facilitate generalization and directed towards practice of social skills in the school and home settings were also assessed. Treatment was effective in the clinic setting in that behaviors selected for modification improved markedly and were maintained above baseline levels at two-week and four-month follow-up probes. Treatment effects generalized to novel scenes administered in the clinic at pre-post probe sessions; however, the effects of social skills training on school and home generalization ratings were less consistent. Interpretation of results was limited by the degree of variability of measures during baseline and treatment phases. For one of the five subjects, slight improvement was evident in school generalization ratings. All subjects were less rejected by classmates immediately following treatment, but only one subject maintained improvement at the four-month follow-up probe. Proposed facilitation effects of the homework techniques were not supported by the data. Follow-up assessment of generalization ratings indicated some performance decrement, but two of the five subjects remained above baseline levels.