Evaluation Of A Social Skills Training Program For Middle Elementary Aged Boys With Learning Disabilities

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of a social skills training on the peer status and interactions with peers of middle elementary aged boys with learning disabilities. In addition, the additive effect of cognitive self-instructional training in conjunction with skills training was examined. A total of 14 boys between the ages of 9 and 12 were provided with training two times a week for a period of four weeks. Boys were trained in a variety of skills including: inviting, greeting, joining, smiling, conversation skills, complimenting, cooperating, and grooming. Half the boys received cognitive training in which they were taught to ask themselves questions to guide analysis of a social situation, generation of response alternatives and response selection, evaluation, and self-reinforcement. The boys were assessed immediately prior to and following treatment and at a six month follow-up on sociometrics, behavioral observations and performance on a roleplay assessment procedure. Performance on these measures was compared to that of six boys in an attention placebo group which met for the same amount of time. Results showed that all groups increased over time on greeting, inviting, number of questions asked, overall social skill, and peer liking as measured by "play with" sociometric score (F(2, 17) = 16.519, p (LESSTHEQ) .001; F(1, 17) = 6.332, p (LESSTHEQ) .02; F(1, 17) = 4.522, p (LESSTHEQ) .048; F(2, 14) = 7.341, p (LESSTHEQ) .007; F(2, 14) = 4.711, p (LESSTHEQ) .027, respectively). These results suggest that all groups changed on these behaviors possibly due to regression or Hawethorne effects. However, several difficulties may have precluded accurately assessing the impact of social skills training. Training may not have been carried out for a long enough period for the boys to learn the skills trained. In addition some modification of assessment procedures seems warranted.


Psychology, Clinical

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