Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type

USM Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Rachel Brown PhD

Second Advisor

Christina Flanders PsyD

Third Advisor

Jamie Pratt PsyD




Social skill deficits have been associated with not only social problems, but also academic underachievement and further mental health problems. This study investigated whether social skills training using the Skillstreaming curriculum was associated with generalization of the instructed skills in other environments in the same school. In addition, the study evaluated whether reductions in office discipline referrals (ODRs), and increases in prosocial skills were observed on program-specific (e.g., Skillstreaming) and the Social, Academic, and Emotional Behavior Screening Scale (SAEBRS). This study was developed to be part of the school’s multi-tier system of support (MTSS) for students with academic and behavior difficulties. An MTSS includes increasingly intensive instruction and intervention for students whose universal screening data indicate a need for assistance in order to meet school district or state learning goals.

Selected fifth graders attending an elementary school in the Northeast were selected for this study based on their scores on the Social, Academic, and Emotional Behavior Screening Scale (SAEBRS; FastBridge Learning, 2017). The students’ scores were confirmed by their classroom teachers as indicative of a need for Tier 2 social skills intervention. Those nominated students whose parents provided informed consent and who themselves gave assent were enrolled in the study. The participants then completed additional assessments to confirm intervention need and to identify specific learning goals. The participants attended regular small group intervention sessions utilizing Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child during their lunch periods.

Intervention outcomes were evaluated using multiple direct observations of the students’ behaviors across diverse settings, ODR counts for each participant, pre- and post-intervention administrations of the Skillstreaming program checklist, and a postintervention administration of the SAEBRS. Social skill measures and ODR counts will be conducted pre and post intervention. Results indicated that the intervention did not result in meaningful changes in the participants’ social skills across the observed settings. Nonetheless, teacher ratings from pre- and post-intervention indicated that the students’ social skills did improve over the course of the intervention. The results are discussed in relation to the challenges related to behavior intervention and expectancy effects.