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Social Skills Training for Juvenile Delinquents

NCJ Number
Behavior Research and Therapy Volume: 17 Issue: 6 Dated: (1979) Pages: 547-554
T H Ollendick; M Hersen
Date Published
8 pages
This study examined the effectiveness of social skills training in the treatment of incarcerated juvenile delinquents.
Locus of control is a generalized expectancy regarding the effectiveness of one's behavior. Internally oriented individuals report that effort and skill lead to successful outcomes, while externally oriented individuals report that outcome is related to luck, fate, or chance. Twenty-seven incarcerated juvenile delinquents matched on locus of control, number of previous offenses, age, and intelligence test scores were assigned to a social skills, discussion, or control group. Social skills training consisted of instruction, feedback, modeling, behavior rehearsal, social reinforcement, and graduated homework assignments. Discussion groups were designed to allow members to discuss their problems. Both of these groups met for 10 weeks with the goal of helping each other learn and use appropriate behaviors. Subjects in the control group were involved in the institutional behavior modification program only. All subjects were assessed before and after treatment on self-report, role play, and behavioral measures. Analyses of variance for difference scores indicated that the social skills group improved significantly more than the discussion and control groups, which did not differ. Appropriate skills were learned, anxiety was reduced, internal locus of control was increased, and significant shifts in adjustment to the institutional program were evident for the social skills group. Shifts to internal locus of control have been shown to lead to more compliant and less aggressive behavior and discharges in shorter periods of time. Long-term followup studies on these subjects are being conducted. A table and 25 references are provided. (Author abstract modified)


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