Date of Submission
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology
Elizabeth A Gosch, PhD, ABPP, Chairperson
Susan Panichelli Mindel, PhD
Daniel Kennedy, PsyD
Social skills training (SST) programs are a common component of treatment for children with social, emotional, developmental, and behavioral challenges. Because of social skills deficits, these children often face peer rejection and develop low self-esteem. Research on SST programs for clinical populations often fails to examine self-esteem or the research is outdated and demonstrates minimal changes in self-esteem. The investigator employed a quasi-experimental, within subjects, repeated measures (pre-post test) design to examine changes in self-esteem and social skills in children from 3rd to 9th grades attending an outpatient SST program that incorporated developmentally appropriate games (DAG). Parent- and self -report measures indicated that there was a small but insignificant change in social skills, and no change in self-esteem from pre- to post-intervention. These insignificant findings were attributed, in part, to the small sample size (N=16), which was due to the data collection challenges encountered at the SST program site. However, the non-significant findings are consistent with the growing literature that calls into question the utility of SST programs regarding their ability to make significant positive changes in self-esteem as well as result in the generalization of social skills across settings.
Hirsch, Bridget, "Cooperative Group Play Social Skills Training for Children with Social, Emotional, and Behavior Challenges: Impact on Self-Esteem and Social Skills" (2016). PCOM Psychology Dissertations. 374.