Dec 31, 2001


The Communication Skills Training (CST) program is designed to promote self-disclosure and empathy in adolescents’ interactions with others. The program is delivered in 16 one-hour sessions of educational and experiential training. Results from an experimental study of CST show that participants experienced short-term and long-term gains in both self-disclosure and empathetic response.


Target population: Adolescents

The Communication Skills Training program (CST) consisted of 16 one-hour sessions, administered four times per week, which were designed to provide students with both conceptual knowledge and behavioral practice of self-disclosure and empathy (Avery, Rider, & Haynes-Clements, 1981). The training program, itself, was a structured educational course. Through didactic and experiential training, participants gained relevant conceptual knowledge as well as behavioral practice of both self-disclosure and empathetic response.


Evaluated population: 48 students from two Junior English classes in a Southwestern high school. For follow-up analyses, data was collected from 43 of the original 48 adolescents in the experimental (n=22) and control groups (n=21).

Participants were randomly assigned to either the Communication Skills Training program, or to no communication skills-related program. Results of the experimental study show that the CST participants’ levels of self-disclosure and empathetic response were higher than the control group participants’ at both posttest analysis and (despite a slight decrease from the posttest levels) at the 5-month follow-up.



Avery, A. W., Rider, K., & Haynes-Clements, L. A. (1981). Communication skills training for adolescents: A five-month follow-up. Adolescence, 16(62), 289-298.

Program also discussed in the following Child Trends publication(s):

Hair, E. C., Jager, J., & Garrett, S. B. (2002). Helping teens develop healthy social skills and relationships: What the research shows about navigating adolescence (Research brief). Washington, DC: Child Trends.

Hair, E. C., Jager, J., & Garrett, S. B. (2001). Background for community-level work on social competency in adolescence: Reviewing the literature on contributing factors. Washington, DC: Child Trends.

KEYWORDS: Adolescents, Co-ed, High School, School-Based, Skills Training, Social Skills/Life Skills

Program information last updated 12/31/01.