SOCIAL INFORMATION PROCESSING AND AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR IN CHILDHOOD: THEORY AND PRACTICE Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
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  • Li, Jilan
    • Affiliation: School of Social Work
Abstract
  • Social-emotional skills training is ubiquitous in American public schools; however, the effectiveness of these programs has not been well-established. Small effect sizes plus mixed and contradictory findings raise the importance of refining existing programs by incorporating new knowledge in social cognitive and behavioral sciences and investigating factors that contribute to discrepancies across evaluation findings. This three-paper dissertation is an effort to address these issues. The first paper reviews an important theoretical advance in social cognitive research: the social information processing (SIP) theory. The paper develops a general framework for applying SIP theory to social-emotional skills training, and reviews issues in applying SIP to practice. The paper distinguishes SIP-based interventions from traditional social problem-solving (SPS) interventions. Several methodological issues in conducting SIP intervention research are discussed. The second and the third papers investigate one implementation factor--the length of treatment exposure or dosage--to help explain the contradictory findings from evaluation studies of social-emotional skills training programs. Investigating the effects of varying dosage (i.e., dosage analysis) is an important but critically understudied area of social intervention research. Dosage analysis requires advanced statistical techniques to balance multiple dosage groups and estimate valid effects by treatment exposure level. The second paper reviews a recent development in the family of propensity score-based methods--generalized propensity score-based (GPS) methods--with potential utility for balancing multiple dosage groups. In addition to discussing GPS application principles, this paper demonstrates the use of one GPS method with a continuous treatment variable. The third paper investigates dosage effects of a SIP-based social-emotional skills training program, the Making Choices program. The analysis uses the GPS method with a continuous treatment variable. Data were drawn from a national evaluation study of Making Choices. Dosage effects were evaluated for eight key outcomes at the end of Grade 3 and Grade 4 years. Findings indicate dosage effects on social competence and emotional regulation at the end of Grade 3. No effects were observed at the end of Grade 4. Further, findings suggest characteristics of the quality of implementation (e.g., level of student engagement, teacher-student relationship) are important areas for future investigation.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Fraser, Mark W.
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2013
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