Oct 23, 2006

Skills Training Program for Children with Social Deficits


Problem-Solving Skills Training program was developed for children lacking in
the everyday social skills needed to solve interpersonal problems. The
24-unit program focuses on problem-solving techniques but also includes
components to address self-esteem, assertiveness, communication, stress
management, and social values. Sixty-six 7th-9th graders
were randomly assigned in an evaluation of the Problem-Solving Skills Training
program. The evaluation found that the program was effective in helping
children generate more solutions and appropriate responses to social
problems. The Problem-Solving Skills Training program was also effective
in helping children consider the consequences of social actions as well as
raising their internal locus of control.


Target population: 7th, 8th,
and 9th grade students with deficits in social skills

The Problem-Solving Skills Training program drew heavily
from a similar program developed by Spivack, Platt,
& Shure (1976). This program aims to
provide tools such as conflict resolution, perspective taking, communication,
and recognizing consequences of behavior to children lacking social skills in
order to enhance their social interactions. There are 24 units within the
program which each address a different component of interpersonal problem
solving. The program uses discussion, group exercises, games,
demonstrative practice, and role playing to convey information about social
problem solving. The training program is designed to span 4-5 months with
sessions being held twice weekly.


Tellado, G. S.
(1984). An evaluation case: The implementation and evaluation of a
problem-solving training program for adolescents. Evaluation and
Program Planning, 7,

Evaluated population: 66 students in
grades 7-9 (ages 11-16) who were labeled by counselors as having deficits in social
functioning. The students came from a rural Pennsylvania junior high school.

Approach:Students were assessed by guidance
counselors on a scale of student behavior. To qualify for the study,
students had to show clear social skills deficits. A sample of 66
students was selected and students were then randomly assigned to the
Problem-Solving Skills Training program treatment condition or the control
condition which received no additional intervention. Students in the
treatment condition attended the program sessions during their normally
scheduled study hall periods. Sessions lasted approximately 40 minutes
and were attended twice weekly for a total of 20 weeks during the 3rd
and 4th quarters of the school year (January – May). Students
were then assessed on scales measuring social problem-solving means and ends,
generation of alternative solutions, awareness of consequences, self-esteem,
and locus of control.

Results:Treatment group children generated fewer
irrelevant solutions and more relevant solutions compared with children in the
control group, suggesting that control group children were less able to
effectively solve social problems. Treatment group children were also
able to generate a larger number of alternative solutions to social problems
when compared to control group children. The treatment group children
were found to be more likely to consider the consequences of social actions
than children in the control group.



Spivack, G., Platt, J. J., & Shure, M. B.
(1976). The problem-solving approach to
Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Tellado, G. S. (1984). An
evaluation case: The implementation and evaluation of a problem-solving
training program for adolescents. Evaluation and Program Planning, 7,

Program categorized in this guide according to the

Evaluated participant ages: 11-16, grades 7-9 / Program
age ranges in the Guide: mid-childhood, adolescence

Program components

Measured outcomes: social and emotional health and
development; life skills; behavioral problems

KEYWORDS: Middle Childhood (6-11), Adolescence
(12-17), School-based, Junior High School, Rural, Social/Emotional Health
and Development, Life Skills Training, Self Esteem, Locus of Control, Problem
Solving Skills, Behavioral Problems, Social Skills Deficits, White or

Program information last updated 10/23/06