Effectiveness of a social learning method for enhancing children's social interaction and peer acceptance.

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170 Scopus citations


Previous research indicates that the consequences of peer isolation or rejection may be severe. The present investigation examined changes in low-accepted children's behavior and peer acceptance resulting from social learning approach to social skill training. Third-grade children responded to a sociometric measure and were later observed on targeted social skills. 36 children with low scores on both criteria were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 experimental conditions: skill training, attention control, and nontreatment control. Children in the training condition were coached in 3 social skills: asking questions, leading, and offering support to peers. Sociometric and observational assessments were conducted upon completion of the experimental procedures and at follow-up. Trained children spent a significantly greater percentage of time engaging in 2 of the 3 trained skills at posttest and follow-up, whereas control group children remained the same or declined. Unlike their control group counterparts, trained children also evidenced significant and lasting gains in classroom peer acceptance. The results are interpreted as support for the intervention's effectiveness and a social learning explanation of behavioral change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
JournalChild development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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