Impact of a Social Skills Intervention on the Hostile Attributions of Children With Prenatal Alcohol Exposure


Reprint requests: Vivien Keil, PhD, 13 Orchard Street, Suite 103, Lake Forest, CA 92630; Fax: 949-837-0274; E-mail:


Background:  Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) has been linked to a wide array of developmental deficits, including significant impairments in social skills. Given the extensive body of evidence linking social information-processing patterns with social behavior, it is possible that social information-processing may represent one mechanism of behavioral change. The present investigation sought to answer the question of whether a well-established social skills intervention decreased the hostile attributions of children with PAE. Further, was there a differential impact of the intervention on hostile attributions in the context of peer provocation versus group entry scenarios?

Methods:  Participants consisted of 100 children (51% male) with PAE between the ages of 6 and 12 years. Participants were randomly assigned to either a social skills intervention, Children’s Friendship Training (CFT), or to a Delayed Treatment Control (DTC) condition.

Results:  Analyses indicated that the social skills intervention resulted in a significantly lower proportion of hostile attributions in peer group entry, but not peer provocation, scenarios. This decrease was maintained over a 3-month follow-up period.

Conclusions:  Deficits in social information-processing among individuals with PAE can be improved through social skills intervention, and these changes may lead to more positive developmental outcomes.