Social problem solving and social skills training


School of Psychology, Manchester Polytechnic, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5GD, UK


Community residents who reported extensive social difficulties and who were undergoing social skills training (SST) were found to be less accurate in their perception of simple and complex social goals and in the number of alternative behaviours they were able to generate in pursuit of these goals than a validation group of people who regarded themselves as socially adept. Following SST, goal perception was more accurate, with greater change occurring regarding the complex scene: the number of alternative behaviours available also increased, particularly with regard to the simple scene. It was felt that training facilitated accuracy of goal perception, and that prior inaccuracy led to a distorted number of alternative behaviours produced. The study was repeated with different though comparable groups. This time, subjects were told what the social goals were, and were asked only to generate alternative behaviours. Following SST, training subjects were able to generate more alternative behaviours for both simple and complex scenes, although there were still fewer than the number generated by the validation group. The relative difficulty in generating alternative behaviours in a complex situation remained.

The results are discussed with reference to incidental benefits of SST.