A study of social competence training, maintenance, and generalization in preadolescent learning disabled children

Mark Joseph Griffin, Fordham University


A significant body of recent research suggests that learning disabled children who return to mainstream classes experience more difficulty in social adjustment, appear less socially competent and exhibit higher incidence of behavior problems than non-learning disabled peers. This study explored the efficacy of a 10-week cognitive social behavioral (Social Skills in the Classroom) and interpersonal problem solving skill (Interpersonal Cognitive Problem Solving) treatment program, within the naturalistic classroom setting on the outcome of better social competence and the maintenance and generalization of posttreatment skill levels. Sixty learning disabled boys between the ages of 10 and 12 were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) an experimental group, (n = 24); (b) an attention control group, (n = 18); and (c) a no-contact control group, (n = 18). All subjects were measured pretreatment, midtreatment, posttreatment, and follow-up on the Social Behavior Assessment-Revised (SBA-R). The experimental group was also measured pretreatment and posttreatment in a classroom where treatment did not occur on the SBA-R. It was hypothesized that subjects in the experimental group would demonstrate significant improvements on the social competence measures and maintain those improvements over time and in alternative settings. Both attention control and no contact control groups were expected to demonstrate no significant improvement on social competence measures. Multivariate analysis of variance, post-hoc Scheffe contrasts, and t tests for correlated means confirmed that all groups showed significant gain from pre- to posttreatment on the SBA-R. However, the experimental group was clearly superior to the other two groups and the attention control group was superior to the no contact control group on one of the three measures of social competence. The study warrants testing the hypothesis in a different school setting where possible treatment effects of the study's educational program can be better controlled. In the current study the experimental group showed clear superiority on all measures but the significant improvement of the other two groups was surprising. If the results of the current study are confirmed with respect to the experimental group but not the attention control or no contact control groups in future investigations, mainstream teachers will be able to establish the efficacy of using the two programs concurrently to effect improvement in social competence and social outcome behavior.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Special education

Recommended Citation

Griffin, Mark Joseph, "A study of social competence training, maintenance, and generalization in preadolescent learning disabled children" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9136324.