Title

The importance of peers and social skills training in improving the rejected status of elementary students

Date of Completion

January 2000

Keywords

Psychology, Social|Education, Elementary|Education, Educational Psychology

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

This investigation attempted to increase the social status of students with rejected status. Social skills training intervention has been the approach utilized to address children's peer relationship problems. This study utilized a contextualist model of social skills training which focused on not only teaching specific skills to students with rejected status, but also included peers with popular and average status. Elementary students were selected by peer ratings and nominations from third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms in a rural elementary school. The children with rejected status were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The children in the experimental group participated in an eight-week intervention program. A student with rejected status was placed with two students of average or popular status. Specific social skills were taught through modeling, coaching and guided rehearsal to the experimental group. The students in the active control group were involved in games and play activities for a commensurate amount of time. The inactive control group consisted of students who remained in the classroom. Students were evaluated prior to, immediately following, and six weeks later on three measures: peer ratings, peer nominations, and teacher social skills ratings. The effects of the three conditions were assessed by the Friedman test and no significant changes were found among the three groups. Effect sizes were computed and revealed that students with rejected status were liked more and disliked less. Teacher ratings showed that the students with rejected status improved their social skills after the intervention. Changes were not maintained after six weeks. ^