A Cognitive-Social Learning Approach to Social Skill Training with Low-Status Preschool Children
Changes in the behavior and peer acceptance of low-status preschool children as a result of social skill training were examined. Children who had low sociometric status and were also low in classroom use of social skills were randomly assigned to a skill training group (n=18) or to an attention control group (n=15). Children in the training group were coached in 4 skills: leading peers, asking questions of peers, making comments to peers, and supporting peers. Trained children showed a significant increase in their use of the trained skills comments and leads from pretest to posttest, whereas control-group children showed no change. Neither control nor skill-trained children changed significantly on sociometric measures from pretest to posttest. Increases in skill use in the classroom with peers was correlated with improvements in children's knowledge of friendly social strategies from pre- to posttest. Results are interpreted as evidence of a social skill basis for peer acceptance and of the need to develop procedures to assess the mechanisms of change during social skills training.