Preliminary Evaluation of the ‘Secret Agent Society’ Social-Emotional Skills Programme with Typically Developing Children

Roxana Pearson (2014). Preliminary Evaluation of the ‘Secret Agent Society’ Social-Emotional Skills Programme with Typically Developing Children Professional Doctorate, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
s4030474_pd_abstract.pdf s4030474_pd_abstract.pdf application/pdf 158.18KB 0
s4030474_pd_totalthesis.pdf s4030474_pd_totalthesis.pdf application/pdf 11.17MB 2
Author Roxana Pearson
Thesis Title Preliminary Evaluation of the ‘Secret Agent Society’ Social-Emotional Skills Programme with Typically Developing Children
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-08-21
Thesis type Professional Doctorate
Supervisor Assoc. Prof. Kate Sofronoff, PhD
Total pages 250
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
111704 Community Child Health
170103 Educational Psychology
Abstract/Summary Abstract A preliminary evaluation of a multicomponent social-emotional skills programme, the ‘Secret Agent Society’ (SAS), was conducted with twenty-seven, 7 to 12 year old typically developing children who were experiencing peer relationship difficulties and/or anxiety in social situations. The SAS programme was originally developed for children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASD), such as Asperger syndrome, and has demonstrated efficacy with this population. Since becoming available within the community, many of the practitioners trained in the programme have expressed interest in extending its use to children who are experiencing similar difficulties, but are not on the autism spectrum. The SAS intervention comprises nine weekly child group therapy sessions (plus booster), parent group sessions, teacher tip sheets, an interactive computer game, board game and numerous generalisation enhancement resources. In recognition of the interfering nature of frustration, anxiety, and reduced social understanding in children’s social functioning, emotion recognition and emotion regulation skills are taught prior to other social cognition and social behaviour skills. There is also a strong emphasis on increasing opportunities and motivation to practise these skills in real-world situations, with graduated ‘home missions’ that are tailored to each child’s individual needs. An examination of the literature indicated that a diverse range of children may benefit from the intervention, given its emphasis on remediating both the acquisition and performance deficits implicated in the aetiology and maintenance of peer relationship difficulties. Anxious children were considered to be particularly likely to experience improvements in their social and emotional competence through programme participation. The intervention was also found to align with empirically identified best-practise in social skills training. Accordingly, a number of predictions were made around children’s outcomes. A within-subjects design was employed due to constraints in the scope of the research. The results largely supported the hypotheses. Children made significant gains in their use of social and emotional skills, as reported by their parents. Furthermore, these gains were found to translate to significant improvements in typically developing children’s social competence with peers, social anxiety and overall anxiety levels. No reductions in children’s reported experience of victimisation were found. Treatment gains were maintained at six-week follow-up. There appears to be initial support for the clinical meaningfulness of improvements. Results are interpreted in light of the literature, and limitations and future directions are discussed. Overall, this research provides preliminary evidence of the efficacy of the Secret Agent Society social-emotional skills programme with typically developing children, and indicates that further evaluation using a randomised controlled design is warranted.
Keyword Social skills training
Emotion management skills
Social competence
Social Anxiety
Peer Relations
child adjustment
Therapy Programs
Pre- and post-intervention study

Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 02 Sep 2014, 14:34:11 EST by Roxana Pearson on behalf of Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences