Blended Social Skills Intervention for Students Identified as Emotionally and Behaviorally Disturbed

Blended Social Skills Intervention for Students Identified as Emotionally and Behaviorally Disturbed

Lauren R. Tidmore (George Washington University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1766-6.ch008


The purpose of this study was to evaluate a nine-week blended learning social skills intervention for high school students identified as being at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders. Exploring how social skills interventions improve students' social and emotional deficits aids in the development of an engaging curriculum. This quantitative study utilized a pretest-posttest method. High school students identified as being at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders and their special educators were invited to complete the researcher-designed social skills intervention with a corresponding pre- and post-test. There were no statistically significant differences between the pre- and post-test scores for the students or the special educator. The SEARS' social-emotional domains were all found to be statistically significant predictors of the students' total composite score. Gender was found to be a significant predictor of the student's total composite score. Implications of the study include strategies for developing interventions at the high school level.
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Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

More than 410,000 children and adolescents received services for emotional disturbances in the 2013–2014 school year alone (USDE, 2016). Students with emotional and behavioral disabilities struggle with low self-perception, poor relationships with teachers, behavioral challenges, and dropout, often leaning to a rise in incarceration and dropout (Lane et al., 2009).

Federal Definition

The United States Department of Education (USDE, 2010) federally defined EBD as a condition in which students met at least one or more of the following criteria over an extended period of time:

  • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;

  • Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;

  • A generally pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or

  • A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems” (p. 1).

Emotional and behavioral disorders include several social-emotional disabilities such as anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, conduct disorders, and psychotic disorders (IDEA, 2004).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Competence: One’s ability to engage with others and feel comfortable in social situations.

Self-Regulation: One’s own self-awareness of behavior in social situations.

Social Skills: One’s ability to competently read social cues and solve problems in social situations.

Blended Learning: Combining traditional face-to-face learning activities with online instruction.

Emotional and Behavioral Disorders: A condition in which students exhibit inappropriate types of behavior in otherwise normal settings, often resulting in negative relationships with teachers and peers.

Self-Concept: One’s connection to a sense of self identity and perception as a person.

Empathy: The ability to identify, acknowledge, and share the feelings of one’s peers.

Responsibility: The capability to appropriately tailor one’s behavior to the situation at hand.

Self-Efficacy: One’s judgement of his or her own success in social situations.

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