Evaluating the generality and social acceptability of early friendship skills

Ciobha A. McKeown, Kevin C. Luczynski, Robert K. Lehardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of prosocial skills is considered pivotal to childhood development. The friendship unit of the Preschool Life Skills program teaches early prosocial skills likely to facilitate socially desirable behaviors in young children; however, the friendship unit is the most understudied unit and has produced modest, inconsistent outcomes across children. The current study aimed to evaluate procedures necessary to (a) teach friendship skills to 4 children, with and without developmental disabilities, in an applied context and (b) promote the use of these skills with a same-aged peer. Teaching 5 friendship skills in a 1-to-1 format with the addition of tangible reinforcement, if necessary, was efficacious at increasing the children's friendship skills with an adult. Additional tactics were necessary to promote prosociality with a peer. We discuss refinements to the teaching procedures and additional considerations to improve the social acceptability and durability of prosocial skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • behavioral skills training
  • friendship skills
  • generality
  • peers
  • preschool life skills
  • prosocial skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


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