Social Skills Training as a Classroom Program among a Group of Female Students of a Primary School

Article excerpt

Objective: The main objective of this study is to compare the efficacy of social skill training as a classroom program in schoolgirl students of a primary school with a control group.

Method: The 4th grade school girls of two classes in a primary school and at least one of their parents or caregivers participated in this study and they were allocated in the case and control groups. The student's age range was 9-11 years. The social skill education program was designed for primary school children by child and adolescent psychiatry department of Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences .

Demographic characteristics were recorded in a designed questionnaire , and included name, age, prior history of psychiatric and medical condition, and prior history of participation in a social skill education program .

Achenbach Child Behavior Check List parent's report form (CBCL) was used before and after the study in the case group to evaluate the efficacy of the program interventions and, it was also used for the controls at the same times .

The change of mean scores, inter and intra groups, and the categorical shifts were compared using repeated measure ANOVA and Chi square statistical methods of analysis by the SPSS-15 statistical software.

Results: The total number of 66 students with the mean age of 9.80±0.49 years participated in the study: 39 students were assigned to the experimental group and 27 students to the control group.

The comparison of the mean age revealed no statistically significant differences between the two groups. The results showed an increment in internalizing problems and total competence and also in affective, anxiety, oppositionality and conduct problem scores which are statistically significant. The percentage of change in behavioral problems was compared between the cases and controls after the interventions. Based on the results, 25.6% of the intervention group got worse in internalizing problems after the intervention compared to the 3.7% in the control group which is statistically significant.

Conclusion: Social skill training in classroom settings may worsen some behavioral problems in girls; therefore, this type of training needs standard settings .

Key words: Behavioral symptoms, Girls, Psychological techniques, School health services, Students

Iran J Psychiatry 2009; 4:155-159

Many children and adolescents have psychosocial risk factors that make them vulnerable for psychiatric disorders (1). Various studies have indicated that there are different forms of preventive programs to promote mental health for students at schools; social skill training is the main part of these programs. Children who exhibit social skills deficits experience negative consequences (2). Recently many studies have evaluated the effect of social skill training programs in different situations and in high risk children. Wang et al have evaluated the effectiveness of social skills in a group of children with behavioral problems and compared them with a control waiting list and they found significant improvement (3). Recent studies also show that social skill training in different age groups including preschool (4), school age (5) and adolescents (6) have positive effects but most of these interventions have been performed in clinics and on children with psychiatric or behavioral problems and also on high risk children and adolescents. Several studies have investigated the effect of social skill programs on specific situations including HIV, drug abuse and bullying and showed considerable preventive effects (7, 8). Many studies have suggested that parental involvement in social skill intervention may lead to better outcomes (9). Most of the studies have reported positive results. Accordingly many countries have established mental health program at schools and enrolled the students in social skill training programs. In Iran, many cultural and educational societies and schools perform these interventions in classroom settings by including all the students of the class in a group. …