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I Can Problem Solve: Impact on childrens social cognitive skills and social competence Deborah L. Richardson, Amanda W. Harrist, & Melanie C. Page Oklahoma.

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Presentation on theme: "I Can Problem Solve: Impact on childrens social cognitive skills and social competence Deborah L. Richardson, Amanda W. Harrist, & Melanie C. Page Oklahoma."— Presentation transcript:

1 I Can Problem Solve: Impact on childrens social cognitive skills and social competence Deborah L. Richardson, Amanda W. Harrist, & Melanie C. Page Oklahoma State University

2 Background Interpersonal cognitive problem-solving skills can enhance social competence and prevent early risk behaviors (Fraser et al., 2005; Webster-Stratton & Taylor, 2001). The I Can Problem Solve program (Shure, 2000) has been shown to improve prosocial behaviors (i.e., empathy), reduce negative behaviors (i.e., impulsivity, over-emotionality, physical and verbal aggression), and decrease social withdrawal in diverse preschool and early elementary school children (Shure & Spivack, 1982).

3 ICPS teaches children how to think, not what to think, with daily real-life problems. Skills include generating alternative solutions, identifying consequences, and empathy. Age-specific curriculum manuals and various methods are used such as word concepts, pictures, role-play, puppets, and group interaction. Dialoguing and subject integration by teachers reinforce concepts. ICPS has not been broadly utilized or evaluated by the Cooperative Extension Service. Further evaluation in rural communities is also needed.

4 Study Purpose To evaluate effects of the ICPS program delivered by the Cooperative Extension Service in partnership with teachers of preschool and early school-age children.

5 Method Quasi-experimental control group design. County Extension Educators (FCS/4-H) recruited teachers of preschool - 2 nd grade classes in Head Start, child development centers, or elementary schools. In each location, one class implemented the ICPS intervention. A similar class served as a control group and did not receive ICPS.

6 Intervention Procedures Extension educators provided training and technical support on the ICPS program to the intervention class teachers. Teachers utilized the program in their classrooms. Some county educators also co-facilitated or directly presented lessons to the children. Classes received 23-36 ICPS lessons over 10-12 weeks.

7 Sample Children with complete pre-/post-test data 1 urban & 14 primarily rural communities Teachers: 15 intervention, 15 control Children:182 intervention, 123 control 51% boys, 49% girls 3 to 9 years old 74% schools low income or free/reduced lunch



10 Measures All completed twice for each participating child in intervention and control classes, pre-/post-test Social-Cognitive Skills Child interviews - 10 hypothetical problem stories Coded generated solutions - intercoder α =.88-.92 Assessed # alternative solutions, relevancy ratio, and solution types % - both initial responses without probes and responses with probes. 6 solution types (with 3 probes) - manipulative, aggressive, assertive, tell-tattle, react positive, passive

11 Social Competence Teachers rated behavior of each individual child Drexel Early Childhood Behavior Rating Scale (DECB; Shure, 2005) – 12 items, 9-pt scale Total α=.88; problem behaviors reverse-coded Aggression α=.93; Withdrawal α=.73 Social Competence Scale -Teacher Version (SCS-T; CPPRG, 1990) – 25 items, 5-pt scale Total α=.98; Prosocial skills, emotional regulation, academic skills all α=.95

12 Analysis & Results ANOVA mixed design 2 (time, repeated) x 2 (group, between) tests performed on SPSS 16.0. Significant interaction effects are presented.

13 Time x Group F Effect Size η ρ 2 P-2 nd K-2ndP-2 nd K-2nd # Alt. solutions w/3 probes a 4.91*5.85*.08.12 # Initial solutions b 2.887.50**.01.03 Initial relevancy ratio b 3.316.42**.01.03 Manipulative solutions c 6.14* Passive solutions c 5.96*16.15***.08.24 React positive solutions c 10.56**21.77***.13.30 Tell-tattle solutions c.954.56*.01.08 a df = 1, 58; 1, 44. b df = 1, 280; 1, 210. c df = 1, 69; 1, 50. * p <.05 ** p <.01 ***p <.001.





18 Time x Group F Effect Size η ρ 2 DECB a Total Competence19.83***.06 Aggression15.35***.05 Social Withdrawal3.27.01 SCS-T b Total Competence34.54***.10 Prosocial Skills27.41***.08 Emotional Regulation39.70***.12 Academic Skills21.02***.07 a df = 1, 303. b df = 1, 299. ***p <.001.


20 Conclusions & Implications ICPS training positively impacted aspects of childrens social cognitive (problem-solving) skills and competent behavior compared to non-trained children. Some social cognitive skills strengthened when preschoolers were removed. ICPS may be beneficial for general populations of children in diverse school and community settings. Cooperative Extension may be a viable delivery system for ICPS.

21 References Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group (1990). Social competence scale - teacher version. Retrieved November 15, 2006, from Fraser, M. W., Galinsky, M. J., Smokowski, P. R., Day, S. H., Terzian, M. A., Rose, R. A., & Guo, S. (2005). Social information-processing skills training to promote social competence and prevent aggressive behavior in third grade. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(6), 1045-1055. Shure, M. B. (2000). I Can Problem Solve: An interpersonal cognitive problem-solving program. Champaign, IL: Research Press. Shure, M. B. (2005). Drexel early childhood behavior (DECB) rating scale. Drexel University. Shure, M. B., & Spivack, G. (1982). Interpersonal problem-solving in young children: A cognitive approach to prevention. American Journal of Community Psychology, 10, 341-356. Webster-Stratton, C., & Taylor, T. (2001). Nipping early risk factors in the bud: Preventing substance abuse, delinquency, and violence in adolescence through interventions targeted at young children (0 to 8 years). Prevention Science, 2, 165-192.

22 Project support provided by the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. Study was part of the principal authors doctoral dissertation. Contact: or 405-744-9932. Presented at CYFAR Conference, Baltimore, MD, May 19, 2009.

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