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Intervention Summary

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Social Skills Group Intervention (S.S.GRIN) 3-5

Social Skills Group Intervention (S.S.GRIN) 3-5 is a social skills curriculum for children in grades 3-5 (ages 8-12 years) who have immature social skills relative to peers (e.g., impulse control problems), are being rejected and teased by peers (e.g., experiencing bullying and victimization), or are socially anxious and awkward with peers. S.S.GRIN 3-5 is implemented in small groups and is intended to improve children's peer relations by building basic behavioral and cognitive social skills, reinforcing prosocial attitudes and behaviors, and building adaptive coping strategies for social problems, such as teasing and isolation. The intervention is based primarily on social learning and cognitive behavioral theoretical perspectives, with an emphasis on the behavioral, cognitive, and emotional components of social problem solving.

Mental health professionals (i.e., school counselors, psychologists, or social workers) who have received training in the intervention use fully scripted lesson plans to implement S.S.GRIN 3-5 as a 10-week curriculum (one 60-minute session per week). Sessions include modeling, positive reinforcement, and cognitive reframing to support the specific skills covered, as well as lectures, role-plays, brainstorming, games, and other activities (e.g., collaborative drawing).

In studies reviewed for this summary, S.S.GRIN 3-5 was implemented with 3rd- and 4th-grade students who were identified from a pool of students who met criteria for inclusion in a social skills program (i.e., they were highly disliked by peers, victimized by peers, and/or highly socially anxious). Although the intervention was implemented in a school setting in the studies reviewed, S.S.GRIN 3-5 also can be used in after-school, community, and clinical settings. Other S.S.GRIN programs have been developed for use with children with high functioning autism (HFA) and with children in other age groups. The program for children with high functioning autism, S.S.GRIN-HFA, has been reviewed separately by NREPP.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Outcomes Review Date: May 2011
1: Peer acceptance
2: Self-esteem
3: Self-efficacy
4: Social anxiety
5: Depressive symptoms
Outcome Categories Mental health
Social functioning
Physical aggression and violence-related behavior
Ages 6-12 (Childhood)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities Asian
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
White
Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings School
Geographic Locations Urban
Suburban
Implementation History Since 1994, S.S.GRIN 3-5 has been implemented with more than 5,000 children in an estimated 200 schools and mental health clinics across 17 States and the District of Columbia.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: Yes
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: No
Adaptations The program has been adapted for use with the following groups: children ages 4-5 years in prekindergarten and kindergarten (S.S.GRIN EC), children in kindergarten through grade 2 (S.S.GRIN K-2), adolescents ages 13-16 years (S.S.GRIN A), children ages 8-12 years with high functioning autism spectrum disorders (S.S.GRIN-HFA), and parents (S.S.GRIN PG).
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Selective
Indicated

Quality of Research
Review Date: May 2011

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

DeRosier, M. E. (2004). Building relationships and combating bullying: Effectiveness of a school-based social skills group intervention. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33(1), 196-201.  Pub Med icon

DeRosier, M. E., & Marcus, S. R. (2005). Building friendships and combating bullying: Effectiveness of S.S.GRIN at one-year follow-up. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34(1), 140-150.  Pub Med icon

Study 2

DeRosier, M. E. (2007). Peer-rejected and bullied children: A Safe Schools Initiative for elementary school students. In J. E. Zins, M. J. Elias, & C. A. Maher (Eds.), Bullying, victimization, and peer harassment: A handbook of prevention and intervention (Chap. 15). Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.

Supplementary Materials

Coie, J. D., Dodge, K. A., & Coppotelli, H. (1982). Dimensions and types of social status: A cross-age perspective. Developmental Psychology, 18(4), 557–570.

Harter, S. (1982). The Perceived Competence Scale for Children. Child Development, 53(1), 87-97.

Ollendick, T. H., & Schmidt, C. R. (1987). Social learning constructs in the prediction of peer interaction. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 16(1), 80–87.

S.S.GRIN 3-5: Fidelity Measure

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Peer acceptance
Description of Measures Peer acceptance was assessed with sociometrics, which uses peer nominations in assigning children's social status and social behaviors within a peer group. In the classroom setting, students were asked to nominate all of their peers at school who matched each of the following descriptions:

  • Those they like the most
  • Those they like the least
  • Those who fight a lot
  • Those who get picked on, called names a lot, bullied, or teased a lot
Each student indicated his or her nominations on a roster of the names of all students in his or her grade. The number of nominations a child received for each sociometric item was summed and standardized within the nominating group (e.g., by school).
Key Findings In one study, 3rd-grade students who were disliked by peers, were bullied, or experienced social anxiety were randomly assigned to the intervention group or the wait-list control group. Data were collected at pretest, posttest, and 1-year follow-up. Compared with students in the control group, students in the intervention group were more liked by their peers at posttest (p < .05) and at 1-year follow-up (p < .001), less disliked by their peers at 1-year follow-up (p < .001), less aggressive with their peers at 1-year follow-up (p < .001), and less victimized at 1-year follow-up (p < .001).

In another study, 4th-grade students experiencing substantial peer relationship difficulties or bullying by peers were assigned to the intervention group or the wait-list control group. From pre- to posttest, the change in peer acceptance differed significantly between the intervention and control groups (p < .001): Students in the intervention group had improved peer acceptance, being more liked by their peers (p < .05), less rejected by their peers (p < .05), less aggressive with their peers (p < .05), and less picked on or bullied by their peers (p < .05) in comparison with students in the control group, who had a decline in peer acceptance.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2
Study Designs Experimental, Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.9 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Self-esteem
Description of Measures Self-esteem was assessed with the 6-item Social Self-Worth subscale of the Self-Perception Profile for Children. Using a 4-point scale, students rated each item (e.g., "Some kids are happy with themselves most of the time") to describe general satisfaction with oneself. Scores across the 6 items were averaged, with higher scores indicating higher self-esteem.
Key Findings Third-grade students who were disliked by peers, were bullied, or experienced social anxiety were randomly assigned to the intervention group or the wait-list control group. Data were collected at pretest, posttest, and 1-year follow-up. Students in the intervention group had significantly higher self-esteem compared with those in the control group at posttest (p < .05) and at 1-year follow-up (p < .001).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.0 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 3: Self-efficacy
Description of Measures Self-efficacy, the degree to which a child believes he or she can perform social tasks, was assessed using the 10-item Self-Efficacy Scale. Each item presents a social task, such as joining a group or asking a peer to stop an annoying activity. Using a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not sure at all) to 5 (really sure), students indicated how sure they were that they could perform the social task presented in each item. Scores across the 10 items were averaged, with higher scores indicating a greater perception of self-efficacy.
Key Findings Third-grade students who were disliked by peers, were bullied, or experienced social anxiety were randomly assigned to the intervention group or the wait-list control group. Data were collected at pretest, posttest, and 1-year follow-up. Students in the intervention group had significantly greater perceptions of self-efficacy compared with those in the control group at posttest (p < .05) and at 1-year follow-up (p < .05).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.8 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 4: Social anxiety
Description of Measures Social anxiety was measured using the 6-item Social Anxiety With New Peers subscale and the 4-item Generalized Social Anxiety subscale of the Social Anxiety Scale for Children-Revised. This instrument includes statements reflecting anxiety about interacting with peers, such as "I get nervous when I meet new kids" and "I feel shy even with kids I know well." Using a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all) to 5 (all the time), students indicated how much they felt each statement was true for them. Scores across the 10 items within both subscales were averaged, with higher scores indicating greater feelings of social anxiety.
Key Findings Third-grade students who were disliked by peers, were bullied, or experienced social anxiety were randomly assigned to the intervention group or the wait-list control group. Data were collected at pretest, posttest, and 1-year follow-up. Compared with students in the control group, students in the intervention group had less social anxiety in general at posttest (p < .05) and at 1-year follow-up (p < .001) and had less social anxiety with new peers at 1-year follow-up (p < .001).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.0 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 5: Depressive symptoms
Description of Measures Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Mood and Feelings Questionnaire-Short Form, which contains 13 items that describe depressive symptoms, such as "I felt miserable or unhappy" and "I didn't enjoy anything at all." Using a 3-point scale (0 = not true, 1 = sometimes true, and 2 = true), each student indicated his or her feelings or actions in regard to each item during the past 2 weeks. Scores across the 13 items were averaged, with higher scores indicating greater levels of depressive symptoms.
Key Findings Third-grade students who were disliked by peers, were bullied, or experienced social anxiety were randomly assigned to the intervention group or the wait-list control group. Data were collected at pretest, posttest, and 1-year follow-up. Results indicated no significant between-group change in children's depressive symptoms from pre- to posttest. However, at 1-year follow-up, students in the intervention group had a lower level of depressive symptoms compared with students in the control group (p < .001).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.0 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 6-12 (Childhood) 51% Male
49% Female
73% White
20% Black or African American
4% Asian
3% Race/ethnicity unspecified
Study 2 6-12 (Childhood) 50% Female
50% Male
71% White
20% Black or African American
4% Race/ethnicity unspecified
3% Hispanic or Latino
2% Asian

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Peer acceptance 3.6 3.5 3.0 2.1 2.0 3.3 2.9
2: Self-esteem 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.3 2.0 3.3 3.0
3: Self-efficacy 4.0 2.5 3.0 2.3 2.0 3.3 2.8
4: Social anxiety 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.3 2.0 3.3 3.0
5: Depressive symptoms 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.3 2.0 3.3 3.0

Study Strengths

The studies used multiple measures with good to excellent psychometric properties and assessed multiple outcomes. The intervention is manualized, and the interventionists received training and supervision. Several methods were used to assess intervention fidelity (e.g., audiotapes of sessions were reviewed at supervision meetings between the developer and staff delivering the intervention), and adherence rates averaged 91% for one of the studies. A variety of appropriate statistical analyses were conducted in both studies.

Study Weaknesses

In one study, level of attrition was a concern, and there was differential attrition for boys, which limited the power of the analysis to detect differential outcomes by gender. In the same study, an unknown number of students with missing data for a given outcome were excluded from the analyses. The level of attrition in the other study was not reported. Potential confounds include differential selection and statistical regression. For example, in one study, there was considerable disparity in demographic characteristics between groups at baseline. In another study, students who were eligible for the intervention and received parental consent were significantly more disliked and had fewer friends than those who were eligible but did not receive parental consent.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: May 2011

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

DeRosier, M. E. (2007). S.S.GRIN Social Skills Group Intervention for Grades 3-5, child workbook: Research-based information and activities for children. Cary, NC: 3-C Institute for Social Development.

DeRosier, M. E. (2007). S.S.GRIN Social Skills Group Intervention for Grades 3-5, professional manual (4th ed.). Cary, NC: 3-C Institute for Social Development.

Program Web site, http://www.selmediainc.com/ssgrin/3to5

Other program materials:

  • Activity cards
  • Classroom poster set
  • Fidelity measures
  • Group Rules handouts
  • Meet the S.S.GRIN Crew [DVD]
  • Online provider training

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0

Dissemination Strengths

Program materials are thorough, easy to understand and use, and visually appealing. The developer distinguishes when information in the program materials should be conveyed verbatim and when information can be personalized. The professional manual facilitates adherence to protocols by providing detailed instructions for program delivery and scripted lesson plans for the sessions, and it proactively addresses potential behavior management issues. The manual also includes comprehensive supplemental reading lists for children and for parents. The program Web site contains many supplemental online resources for participants. Free access to online, video-based training and support is provided with the purchase of a program kit, and on-site training is available. Support is also available by phone and email. The program Web site includes session fidelity checklists; pre- and postintervention assessments, which can be used by implementers to measure the achieved learning of each participant; and assessment tools that help gauge the effectiveness of the intervention.

Dissemination Weaknesses

No weaknesses were identified by reviewers.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
S.S.GRIN 3-5 Kit (includes professional manual, 10 child workbooks, classroom poster set and handouts, activity cards, reinforcement stickers, Meet the S.S.GRIN Crew [DVD], fidelity checklist for each session, screening tool, and pre- and postintervention assessments) $195 per electronic copy downloaded from the program Web site; $595 per hard copy Yes
Online training Included in the cost of the kit No
1-day, on-site training $2,500 for up to 25 participants, plus travel expenses No
Phone and email support Included in the cost of the kit No
Replications

Selected citations are presented below. An asterisk indicates that the document was reviewed for Quality of Research.

Bostick, D., & Anderson, R. (2009). Evaluating a small-group counseling program--A model for program planning and improvement in the elementary setting. ASCA Professional School Counseling, 12(6), 428-533.

* DeRosier, M. E. (2007). Peer-rejected and bullied children: A Safe Schools Initiative for elementary school students. In J. E. Zins, M. J. Elias, & C. A. Maher (Eds.), Bullying, victimization, and peer harassment: A handbook of prevention and intervention (Chap. 15). Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.

DeRosier, M. E., & Gilliom, M. (2007). Effectiveness of a parent training program for improving children's social behavior. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 16(5), 660-670.

DeRosier, M. E., Swick, D. C., Davis, N. O., McMillen, J. S., & Matthews, R. (2011). The efficacy of a social skills group intervention for improving social behaviors in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(8), 1033-1043.  Pub Med icon

Harrell, A., Mercer, S., & DeRosier, M. E. (2009). Improving the social-behavioral adjustment of adolescents: The effectiveness of a social skills group intervention. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 18, 378-387.

Watanabe, Y. (2009). Social skills group intervention focusing on understanding of emotion. Paper presented at the 117th annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation, contact:
Kenneth Arneson, M.B.A.
(888) 473-5633
karneson@selmediainc.com

To learn more about research, contact:
Melissa DeRosier, Ph.D.
(919) 677-0102
derosier@3cisd.com

Consider these Questions to Ask (PDF, 54KB) as you explore the possible use of this intervention.

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