Behavioral small group training to improve the social skills of emotionally-disordered adolescents

Anthony J. Plienis, David J. Hansen, Felicia Ford, Steve Smith, Lori J. Stark, Jeffrey A. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Adolescents with a history of disorders such as autism and schizophrenia often exhibit severe social skill deficits which interfere with the ability to establish relationships. In the current study, three students attending special education for emotionally-handicapped teenagers received small-group training at their school. Treatment consisted of training in conversational skill and social problem solving, in multiple baseline fashion and replicated across all three students. Treatment resulted in: (1) more effective performance during unstructured practice conversations, including conversations with persons the teenagers never met before; (2) more effective performance when presented with scenarios of social problems; (3) improved ratings of adjustment made by their teacher; (4) increased quality and rating of social interaction during informal class parties for two of the subjects; and (5) generally improved scores on self-report measures of depression, selfesteem, and loneliness. Implications for the use of social skill enhancement techniques for this population are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-32
Number of pages16
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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