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This study identified situations where communication was a barrier to employment for adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Informant interviewees were six college graduates with ASD who have been employed for one year. Following the qualitative inductive analysis, five communication-related themes emerged: (1) job interviewing success, (2) negotiating co-worker interactions, (3) supervisory interactions, instruction, and feedback, (4) handling customer intercommunication, and (5) communication-oriented coping strategies. Participants were relatively more successful in communication coping strategies and supervisory interaction compared to difficulties with job interviewing and co-worker interactions. Vocational rehabilitation counsellors assisting clients with ASD should prioritize job interview communication skills and social skill education specific to appropriate interactions with co-workers and supervisors utilizing role play, social skill training, and job coaching.
While studies suggest that nutritional supplementation may reduce aggressive behavior in children, few have examined their effects on specific forms of aggression. This study tests the primary hypothesis that omega-3 (ω-3), both alone and in conjunction with social skills training, will have particular post-treatment efficacy for reducing childhood reactive aggression relative to baseline.
In this randomized, double-blind, stratified, placebo-controlled, factorial trial, a clinical sample of 282 children with externalizing behavior aged 7–16 years was randomized into ω-3 only, social skills only, ω-3 + social skills, and placebo control groups. Treatment duration was 6 months. The primary outcome measure was reactive aggression collected at 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, with antisocial behavior as a secondary outcome.
Children in the ω-3-only group showed a short-term reduction (at 3 and 6 months) in self-report reactive aggression, and also a short-term reduction in overall antisocial behavior. Sensitivity analyses and a robustness check replicated significant interaction effects. Effect sizes (d) were small, ranging from 0.17 to 0.31.
Findings provide some initial support for the efficacy of ω-3 in reducing reactive aggression over and above standard care (medication and parent training), but yield only preliminary and limited support for the efficacy of ω-3 in reducing overall externalizing behavior in children. Future studies could test further whether ω-3 shows promise in reducing more reactive, impulsive forms of aggression.
Objectives: Multiple sclerosis (MS) can be associated with impaired social cognition. However, social cognition skills have never been explored in the different subtypes of MS. The first aim of this study was to examine whether MS subtypes differ on the course of social cognition. The second aim was to explore the relationship between social cognition performances and executive abilities and mood variables. Methods: Sixty-two patients with MS and 33 healthy matched controls performed experimental tasks assessing facial emotion recognition, theory of mind (ToM), and cognitive functioning, in particular executive functions. Results: Patients differed from controls on both measures of social cognition. On the ToM measures, patients with progressive MS scored significantly lower than healthy participants. Patients with primary progressive MS performed worse than both healthy participants and patients with relapsing-remitting MS on the recognition of fearful facial expressions, while patients with secondary progressive MS performed worse on the recognition of facial expressions of sadness. Patients’ social cognition difficulties were correlated with processing speed, working memory, and verbal fluency. Conclusions: These preliminary results suggested that there may be qualitative differences in social cognition difficulties among the phenotypes. Furthermore, these impairments were related to executive functions, but unrelated to patients’ disability or level of depression. These data highlight the need for research to determine the real impact of these deficits on interpersonal relationships among patients and to confirm these disorders in a larger population with progressive forms of MS. (JINS, 2017, 23, 653–664)
Objectives: Deficits in the recognition of negative emotions emerge before clinical diagnosis in Huntington’s disease (HD). To address emotion recognition deficits, which have been shown in schizophrenia to be improved by computerized training, we conducted a study of the feasibility and efficacy of computerized training of emotion recognition in HD. Methods: We randomly assigned 22 individuals with premanifest or early symptomatic HD to the training or control group. The training group used a self-guided online training program, MicroExpression Training Tool (METT), twice weekly for 4 weeks. All participants completed measures of emotion recognition at baseline and post-training time-points. Participants in the training group also completed training adherence measures. Results: Participants in the training group completed seven of the eight sessions on average. Results showed a significant group by time interaction, indicating that METT training was associated with improved accuracy in emotion recognition. Conclusions: Although sample size was small, our study demonstrates that emotion recognition remediation using the METT is feasible in terms of training adherence. The evidence also suggests METT may be effective in premanifest or early-symptomatic HD, opening up a potential new avenue for intervention. Further study with a larger sample size is needed to replicate these findings, and to characterize the durability and generalizability of these improvements, and their impact on functional outcomes in HD. (JINS, 2017, 23, 314–321)
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) including high-functioning types such as Asperger's syndrome (AS) are diagnosed when there is evidence of a triad of qualitative impairments in social interaction, communication, and stereotyped/repetitive behaviours. It is not uncommon for these impairments to be accompanied by social anxiety. The present single-case study investigates the use of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to treat a 47-year-old man who was assessed as having difficulties with social skills and social phobia in the context of a late diagnosis of AS. He received 20 h of CBT adapted for his AS in 15 sessions including a 1-month follow-up. Following a highly individualized formulation, treatment included modelling, role-playing, reinforcement, thought challenging, and behavioural experimentation. Results from five self-report measures showed continued improvements from the start of therapy to follow-up in social anxiety, global distress, depression and self-esteem. The client gave positive feedback about his experience of treatment. The case study is discussed with reference to limitations and some reflections for CBT in ASD.
Empirical evidence has revealed various factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of Internet abuse. The aim of this paper was to analyze, on a sample of Spanish adolescents, the relationship between Internet abuse and: (1) Personal and interpersonal risk factors, including social skills in both virtual and real-life contexts; (2) Drug use. A total of 814 high school students aged between 13 and 17 participated in this study, and were divided into two groups: Internet Abusers (IA = 173) and Non-Internet Abusers (NIA = 641). Questionnaires were used to analyze Internet and drug use/abuse, as well as social skills, in virtual and real contexts. Various interpersonal risk factors (family and group of friends) were also assessed. IA showed a more severe pattern of Internet and drug use, as well as poorer social skills in both contexts. Moreover, their groups of friends appeared more likely to become involved in risky situations related to Internet and drug abuse. Both IA and NIA showed more adaptive social skills in the virtual context than in the real one. There is a need for further research to build on these findings, with a view to designing specific preventive programs that promote responsible Internet use.
In this paper we present a new instrument called Social Skills Questionnaire for Argentinean College Students (SSQ-U). Based on the adapted version of the Social Skills Inventory - Del Prette (SSI-Del Prette) (Olaz, Medrano, Greco, & Del Prette, 2009), we wrote new items for the scale, and carried out psychometric analysis to assess the validity and reliability of the instrument. In the first study, we collected evidence based on test content through expert judges who evaluated the quality and the relevance of the items. In the second and third studies, we provided validity evidence based on the internal structure of the instrument using exploratory (n = 1067) and confirmatory (n = 661) factor analysis. Results suggested a five-factor structure consistent with the dimensions of social skills, as proposed by Kelly (2002). The fit indexes corresponding to the obtained model were adequate, and composite reliability coefficients of each factor were excellent (above .75). Finally, in the fourth study, we provided evidence of convergent and discriminant validity. The obtained results allow us to conclude that the SSQ-U is the first valid and reliable instrument for measuring social skills in Argentinean college students.
Davies and Fletcher (2001) reported on the practice of pre-primary grade repetition in Western Australia. The current study examines the longer-term academic and social outcomes for children who participated in the 2001 study. Its purpose was to determine whether significant longer-term differences existed between children who had repeated pre-primary, children who were considered at risk of not coping in year 1, and a control group of children who were considered competent at the start of year 1. The differences between the literacy levels, self-concept, and social skills of the 3 groups (ṉ = 33) were examined at the end of year 2. The competent group had significantly better literacy skills than the at-risk group, while the retained group lay midway between the two groups on these measures. No significant differences were found between the 3 groups on measures of socio-emotional development. The implications of these findings for school policy on grade repetition are discussed.
The aim of this study was to assess the effects of a partially parent-implemented self-management intervention incorporating video-modelling for discrimination training on improving social skills in a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The participant was a 9-year-old girl with ASD. A multiple baseline across behaviour design (no interruption, asking for opinions, and appropriately greeting unfamiliar adults) was used to assess the effects of the intervention. Results showed: (a) the intervention was associated with improvements in all target behaviours in the training setting with a strong overall treatment effect; (b) the behavioural gains were generalised to non-training settings and maintained in both fading and follow-up phases; and (c) social validity measured by the Behavior Intervention Rating Scale — Adapted version (pre- and postintervention) was high. The intervention was effective in improving social skills with this participant, with good generalisation and maintenance effects and high social validity.
There is evidence to suggest that social skills, such as the ability to understand the perspective of others (theory of mind), may be affected by childhood traumatic brain injuries; however, studies to date have only considered moderate and severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study aimed to assess theory of mind after early, mild TBI (mTBI). Fifty-one children who sustained mTBI between 18 and 60 months were evaluated 6 months post-injury on emotion and desires reasoning and false-belief understanding tasks. Their results were compared to that of 50 typically developing children. The two groups did not differ on baseline characteristics, except for pre- and post-injury externalizing behavior. The mTBI group obtained poorer scores relative to controls on both the emotion and desires task and the false-belief understanding task, even after controlling for pre-injury externalizing behavior. No correlations were found between TBI injury characteristics and theory of mind. This is the first evidence that mTBI in preschool children is associated with theory of mind difficulties. Reduced perspective taking abilities could be linked with the social impairments that have been shown to arise following TBI. (JINS, 2015, 21, 483–493)
High-functioning children with autism spectrum disorders display social skill deficits that can have a debilitating impact on their daily lives. The Secret Agent Society (SAS) program has been shown to be effective in improving the social skills of these children when delivered in a group setting. This pilot study evaluated whether individually delivered SAS would yield similar outcomes. Three participants were recruited for the 9-week intervention. Measures of social competence were administered at four points: pretest 1, pretest 2, post-intervention, and 6-week follow-up. Participants showed significant improvement in half of the measures assessing social competence. On a third of these measures, two participants demonstrated improvements to within the range of their typically developing peers. Follow-up results suggested that improvements were maintained at 6 weeks’ post-intervention. Limitations of this study and directions for future research are discussed.
The aim of this study was to compare sensory processing in typically developing children (TDC), children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and those with sensory processing dysfunction (SPD) in the absence of an ASD. Performance-based measures of auditory and tactile processing were compared between male children ages 8–12 years assigned to an ASD (N=20), SPD (N=15), or TDC group (N=19). Both the SPD and ASD groups were impaired relative to the TDC group on a performance-based measure of tactile processing (right-handed graphesthesia). In contrast, only the ASD group showed significant impairment on an auditory processing index assessing dichotic listening, temporal patterning, and auditory discrimination. Furthermore, this impaired auditory processing was associated with parent-rated communication skills for both the ASD group and the combined study sample. No significant group differences were detected on measures of left-handed graphesthesia, tactile sensitivity, or form discrimination; however, more participants in the SPD group demonstrated a higher tactile detection threshold (60%) compared to the TDC (26.7%) and ASD groups (35%). This study provides support for use of performance-based measures in the assessment of children with ASD and SPD and highlights the need to better understand how sensory processing affects the higher order cognitive abilities associated with ASD, such as verbal and non-verbal communication, regardless of diagnostic classification. (JINS, 2015, 21, 444–454)
Children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) show sociobehavioral impairments; however, the social cognitive profile contributing to these impairments is poorly understood. This study compared social perspective taking and empathy in children with FASD versus typically developing controls (TDC). Thirty-seven children with FASD and 21 TDC participated. Measures included parent-rated CBCL and SSIS, and NEPSY-II Theory of Mind, Test of Social Cognition and Index of Empathy. Parents rated the FASD group higher than TDC on indices of behavior problems and lower on indices of social skills and empathy. Children with FASD scored significantly below TDC on tasks requiring complex social cognition. The majority of correlations between social cognition and parent-ratings were not significant in FASD and TDC, with the exception of a negative correlation between self-reported empathy and parent-rated behavior difficulties in TDC. FASD subgroup analyses revealed lower theory of mind and empathy scores among children with ARND than pFAS/FAS. With regard to sex, males with FASD were rated as having more behavior difficulties than females, whereas TDC females obtained higher empathy ratings than males. In both groups, females scored higher on theory of mind and empathy indices. On theory of mind tasks, older children with FASD performed below younger, whereas younger TDC children performed more poorly than older. Children with FASD show reduced functioning on indices of sociobehavioral and social cognition, and the effects are influenced by sex and age. These findings provide insight into the clinical and social profile of children with FASD. (JINS, 2015, 21, 74–84)
This study explored the potential of using a new but simplified form of stop-motion animation called slowmation to support 4 primary school students with mild intellectual disabilities in co-constructing an animated social narrative about their own social skills. The research used a multiple case study design incorporating a range of qualitative methods to identify what stop-motion skills the students could use and to what extent the co-construction of an animation influenced their identification of their own social skills. Findings revealed that each student was able to use a range of stop-motion skills with varying levels of support. As a consequence of their co-construction, the students’ understanding of their own social skills increased. Classroom implications, limitations and recommendations for further study are discussed.
Decades of research on social skills assessment and intervention indicates the importance of social skills in improving academic achievement. Additionally, a strong evidence base promotes the inclusion of social–emotional learning into the whole school curriculum. In recognition of this evidence, the new Australian Curriculum, under Personal and social capability, calls for students to develop social skills. For many students with additional needs, it is hoped that the development of social skills will enable increased connectedness and a greater sense of inclusion. To meet developmental expectations of social skills, teachers need to measure these skills, develop effective teaching strategies for them, and evaluate their progress. The multi-tiered assessment and intervention components of the Social Skills Improvement System (SSiS; Elliott & Gresham, 2007) seem to offer a comprehensive system to support this process (Elliott, Frey, & Davies, in press).
This chapter explains the importance of non-technical skills in obstetric practice. It describes the non-technical skills useful when conducting operative vaginal birth (OVB). Non-technical skills have been studied in surgical, anaesthetic and acute medicine domains using methodology from the aviation industry. OVB merits non-technical skills unique to this very intimate and emotive time for the mother and her birth partner. A three-tier behavioural system is used to classify non-technical skills. The first level has five major categories of these skills. When conducting an OVB, the main categories to be considered are: situational awareness, decision making, team work and communication, professional relationships with the woman, and maintaining professional behaviour. The social and interpersonal skills not only contribute to patient safety but also can lead to a lasting impression on the mother. Therefore, the value of these should not be underestimated and need to be carefully built into teaching and formative assessments.
To investigate the associations of behavioural problems with dietary patterns and weight status in young children.
We assessed poor social skills and behavioural problems with a seventy-six-item Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scale (PKBS) and found three dietary patterns (‘Korean healthy’, ‘animal foods’ and ‘sweets’) in food/food group intake data assessed by an FFQ and analysed using factor analysis. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to assess the association of diet and weight status with behaviour.
Pre-schools in the metropolitan areas of Korea.
A total of 1458 children (mean age 5·2 (sd 0·9) years) from the Practical Approach for Better Maternal and Child Nutrition and Health Study conducted from 2001 to 2005.
The ‘Korean healthy’ pattern showed a significant inverse association with poor social skills in the second highest quartile group (OR = 0·42; 95 % CI 0·21, 0·82) compared with the lowest quartile group for boys. For girls, the ‘sweets’ pattern was associated with a greater risk of poor social skills (OR = 3·41; 95 % CI 1·29, 9·01 at Q4 v. Q1) and problem behaviours (OR = 2·80; 95 % CI 1·05, 7·43 at Q4 v. Q1). Regarding weight status, both underweight and overweight boys had a higher risk of poor social skills than normal-weight boys.
Dietary patterns and weight status are important indicators for the behaviour of young children. Healthy and unhealthy dietary patterns, underweight and overweight status, and gender differences should thus be considered for further studies.
The aim of this research is to examine the relationship between social intelligence and loneliness of academics in the workplace. This study involves 326 (149 female/177 male) academics employed in various universities in Turkey and North Cyprus. The age average of participants is 39.09 years. In this study, the Loneliness at Work Scale (LAWS) and Tromso Social Intelligence Scale (TSIS) have been utilized. The data were analyzed using multiple regression and Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient analysis techniques. The findings showed that social information processing, social skills, and social awareness, which are the sub-dimensions of social intelligence, positively explained 26% of social deprivation. Social skills and social awareness positively explained 13% of social companionship. The findings also showed that the social information processing sub-dimension did not meaningfully explain social companionship.
Children with traumatic brain injury (TBI) are at risk for social impairment. This study aimed to examine social function at 6 months post-TBI and to explore the contribution of injury, cognitive, and environmental influences. The sample included 136 children, 93 survivors of TBI, and 43 healthy controls. TBI participants were recruited on admission and underwent magnetic resonance imaging scan within 8 weeks of injury and behavioral assessment at 6 months post-injury. Healthy controls underwent magnetic resonance imaging scans and behavioral assessment on recruitment. Assessment included parent and child questionnaires tapping social outcome and child-direct testing of cognitive abilities important for social competence (communication, attention/executive function, social cognition). Injury characteristics and environmental measures were collected. At 6-months post-injury, social problems were evident, but not global. Social participation appeared most vulnerable, with more severe injuries leading to greater problems. Greater injury severity and poorer communication skills were associated with poorer social adjustment and social participation, with the impact of family function also significant. Processing speed, younger age, and male gender also contributed to social outcomes. Further follow-up is required to track the recovery of social skills and the changing influences of cognition, brain, and environment over time. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–12)
Background: Although interpersonal interactions are thought to affect psychopathology in schizophrenia, there is a paucity of data about how older adults with schizophrenia manage interpersonal conflicts. This paper examines interpersonal conflict strategies and their impact on positive symptom remission in older adults with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
Methods: The schizophrenia group consisted of 198 persons aged 55 years and over living in the community who developed schizophrenia before age 45. A community comparison group (n = 113) was recruited using randomly selected block-groups. Straus’ Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) was used to assess the ways that respondents handled interpersonal conflicts.
Results: Seven conflict management subscales were created based on a principal component analysis with equamax rotation of items from the CTS. The order of the frequency of the tactics that was used was similar for both the schizophrenia and community groups. Calm and Pray tactics were the most commonly used, and the Violent and Aggressive tactics were rarely utilized. In two separate logistic regression analysis, after controlling for confounding variables, positive symptom remission was found to be associated significantly with both the Calm and Pray subscales.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that older persons with schizophrenia approximate normal distribution patterns of conflict management strategies and the most commonly used strategies are associated with positive symptom remission.