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Beyond behavior modification: Benefits of social-emotional/self-regulation training for preschoolers with behavior problems

The current study evaluated the initial efficacy of three intervention programs aimed at improving school readiness in preschool children with externalizing behavior problems (EBP). Participants for this study included 45 preschool children (76% boys; [mean age] = 5.16 years; 84% Hispanic/Latino background) with at-risk or clinically elevated levels of EBP. During the summer between preschool and kindergarten, children were randomized to receive three newly developed intervention packages. The first and most cost effective intervention package was an 8-week School Readiness Parenting Program (SRPP). Families randomized into the second and third intervention packages received not only the weekly SRPP, but children also attended two different versions of an intensive kindergarten summer readiness class (M-F, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.) that was part of an 8-week summer treatment program for pre-kindergarteners (STP-PreK). One version included the standard behavioral modification system and academic curriculum (STP-PreK) while the other additionally contained social-emotional and self-regulation training (STP-PreK Enhanced). Baseline, post-intervention, and 6-month follow-up data were collected on children's school readiness outcomes including parent, teacher, and objective assessment measures. Analyses using linear mixed models indicated that children's behavioral functioning significantly improved across all groups in a similar magnitude. Children in the STP-PreK Enhanced group, however, experienced greater growth across time in academic achievement, emotion knowledge, emotion regulation, and executive functioning compared to children in the other groups. These findings suggest that while parent training is sufficient to address children's behavioral difficulties, an intensive summer program that goes beyond behavioral modification and academic preparation by targeting socio-emotional and self-regulation skills can have incremental benefits across multiple aspects of school readiness. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

Related resources include summaries, versions, measures (instruments), or other resources in which the current document plays a part. Research products funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation are related to their project records.

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