Social Decision Making/Problem Solving Program

Note: The Social Decision Making/Problem Solving Program was not responsive to the CEBC's inquiry. The following information was obtained from publicly available sources.

About This Program

Target Population: Students in 4th or 5th grade

Program Overview

The Social Decision Making/Problem Solving Program is a program which is designed to give students the tools they need to be happy, healthy, and productive global citizens, who achieve academically as well as socially.

It teaches children social and decision making skills they can use to make sound decisions, pursue healthy life choices, and avoid the serious social problems such as bullying, substance abuse, violence, and academic failure.

The goals of Social Decision Making/Problem Solving Program are:

  • To develop children's self control and social awareness skills (including, but not limited to: identifying, monitoring, and regulating stress and emotions, group cooperation, and the ability to develop positive peer relationships).
  • To improve students' social decision-making and problem-solving skills by training educators, parents, and human service workers to be effective facilitators of those skills.
  • To impact upon children's self-esteem and sense of self-efficacy by providing children with a problem-solving framework and social competencies upon which they can rely in stressful situations.
  • To increase positive social behaviors and healthy life choices.

Education and Training

Education and Training Resources

Publicly available information indicates there is a manual that describes how to deliver this program, and there is some training available for this program.
See contact info below.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

Elias, M. J., Gara, M. A. Ubriaco, M., Rothbaum, P. A., Clabby, J. F., & Schuyler, T. (1986). The impact of a preventive social problem solving intervention on children's coping with middle school stressors. American Journal of Community Psychology, 14(3), 259–275. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00911174

Type of Study: Pretest–posttest study with a nonequivalent control group
Number of Participants: 158

Population:

  • Age — Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 80 Males and 78 Females
  • Status — Participants were 5th grade students at 4 elementary schools.

Location/Institution: Community in central New Jersey

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study discusses the efficacy of Improving Social Awareness-Social Problem Solving (ISA-SPS) [now called Social Decision Making/Problem Solving Program]. Children receiving three levels of ISA-SPS intervention were compared: (a) children receiving the full program (both instructional and application phases of the curriculum), (b) children receiving a partial version (the instructional phase only in the second half of the school year), and (c) children who enter middle school in the prior year without having received any intervention. Measures utilized included the Survey of Middle School Stressors and the Group Social Problem Solving Assessment (GSPSA). Results indicate the full training was significantly related to reductions in the severity of a variety of middle-school stressors. The overall pattern of differences indicated that full training was superior to partial training and both conditions were associated with a significant reduction in children's self-reported level of difficulty with commonly occurring stressors in middle school, when compared to controls. Most importantly, a clear mediating role for social problem solving (SPS) skills was found. Children lacking in SPS skills were more likely to experience intense stressors; however, possessing the skills was not necessarily predictive of adjustment to stressors. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, small sample size, and limited length of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: Approximately 4 months.

Elias, M. J., Gara, M. A., Schuyler, T. F., Branden-Muller, L. R., & Sayette, M. A. (1991). The promotion of social competence: Longitudinal study of a preventative school-based program. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 61(3), 409–417. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0079277

Type of Study: Pretest-posttest study with a nonequivalent control group (Quasi-experimental)
Number of Participants: 158

Population:

  • Age — Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — Predominantly white
  • Gender — 80 Males and 78 Females
  • Status — Participants were students in grades 9-11 who had experienced up to two years of social problem solving in their last two years of elementary school (grades 4 and 5).

Location/Institution: Central New Jersey

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study uses the same sample as Elias et al. (1986). This study discusses reports on Improving Social Awareness-Social Problem Solving (ISA-SPS) [now called Social Decision Making/Social Problem Solving Program] aimed at the promotion of social competence. Children receiving three levels of ISA-SPS intervention were compared: (a) children receiving the full program (both instructional and application phases of the curriculum), (b) children receiving a partial version (the instructional phase only in the second half of the school year), and (c) children who received no intervention. Measures utilized included the National Youth Survey (NYS) of Delinquent and Antisocial Behavior, the Perceived Competence Scale for Children (PCSC), and the Youth Self-Report (YSR). Results indicate beneficial effects for program recipients on indices of social adjustment and psychopathology when compared to controls, although overall strength of effects was not large and notable gender differences emerged. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, the generally low base rates on the measures, and the small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 4-6 years.

Additional References

No reference materials are currently available for Social Decision Making/Problem Solving Program.

Contact Information

Agency/Affiliation: Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care
Website: ubhc.rutgers.edu/education/social-decision-making/overview.xml
Email:
Phone: (732) 235-9280

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2020

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2020

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: August 2020