Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Social competency training is a common intervention for students at risk for developing or classified with emotional/behavioral disorders. However, a review of research indicated that it is only mildly effective in producing significant outcomes for these students. A number of factors have been identified as possibly impacting the success of social competency training, including: the intervention setting, the timing of intervention, characteristics of participants, characteristics of interventions and the outcome measurements ~d. A review of literature was conducted to evaluate these factors. Findings of the review indicate that there are not significant differences between interventions conducted in regular education and resource or small group settings. The most compelling results were from interventions based in self-contained or specialized settings; however, there were only a small number of studies in this setting. Timing of intervention does not appear to be a significant factor. In the studies reviewed, outcomes were slightly more positive for pre-school and kindergarten age children and older elementary school age students compared to first and second grade age groups. In terms of participant characteristics, students with the most severe behaviors and students with externalizing behaviors were more positively impacted than students with mild or moderate behaviors or internalizing behaviors. Characteristics of the most successful interventions were those with individualization procedures, treatment matched to symptoms, programs using the First Step to Success, the use of emotional competency training, interventions using peers as trainers or role models and the use of specific behavioral strategies, such as group contingencies. The outcome measurements with the most compelling results were direct observations, followed by socio-metrics and self-reports.

Academic assessments and rating scales had the least significant outcomes. Limitations include comparing studies with single subject designs to studies using control group designs and drawing conclusions based on small numbers of studies with specific characteristics.

Included in

Psychology Commons