Effectiveness of Group Activity Play Therapy on Internalizing and Externalizing Behavior Problems
Preadolescent Orphans in Uganda
This pilot study investigated the impact of group activity play therapy (GAPT) on displaced orphans aged 10 to 12 years living in a large children's village in Uganda. The statistical, practical, and clinical significance of the findings provided strong, preliminary support for using GAPT as a developmentally and culturally responsive school-based intervention for troubled Ugandan orphans. Participants were students from one elementary school located in an orphanage in the central region of Uganda. Teachers and housemothers identified 60 preadolescents exhibiting clinical levels of internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. The participants' ethnicity was African and included an equal number of females and males. Participants were randomly assigned to GAPT (n= 30) or reading mentoring (RM; n= 30), which served as an active control.
Preadolescents in both treatment groups participated in an average of 16 sessions, twice weekly with each session lasting 50 minutes. Sessions were held in the school located within the village complex. A two (group) by two (repeated measures) split plot ANOVA was used to analyze the data. According to teacher reports using the Teacher Report Form (TRF) and housemother reports using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), children receiving the GAPT intervention demonstrated statistically significant decreases in internalizing behaviors and externalizing behaviors from pretest to posttest compared to children who received RM. The GAPT intervention demonstrated a large treatment effect on reducing orphaned children's internalizing problems and a moderate to large treatment effect on reducing externalizing problems.