Social skills training for primary school children: A 1-year follow-up study


  • MG Sawyer, MB, BS, PhD, FRCPC, FRANZCP, Dip. Child Psych, Associate Professor. C MacMullin, Adv Dip T, ME, PhD, Lecturer. B. Graetz, BA (Hons), Dip T, Research Assistant. JA Said, BA, Dip Soc Sc, MPsychol, Senior Clinical Psychologist. JJ Clark, BA (Hons), Dip Ed, Project Officer. P Baghurst, BSc(Maths), M.Sc, PhD, Principal Research Scientist.

Associate Professor M Sawyer, Evaluation Unit, Women's and Children's Hospital, North Adelaide, SA 5006, Australia.


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of the Rochester Social Problem Solving Program to reduce emotional and behavioural problems amongst primary school children.

Methodology: Children in years 3 and 4 at primary school were assessed prior to receiving the program, immediately after the program and 1 year after the program. At each assessment, the functioning of the children who received the program was compared to the functioning of children enrolled in years 3 and 4 at a comparable school who did not receive the program.

Results: The program improved the ability of children to cope with potentially difficult social situations. However, the program did not reduce the prevalence of teacher-reported or mother-reported childhood emotional and behavioural problems.

Conclusions: School-based social skills programs may be more effective in reducing childhood emotional and behavioural problems if they include components which focus specifically on childhood behaviour problems as well as components focusing on social skills and peer relationships.