Social Skills Interventions for Students with Challenging Behavior: Quality of the Evidence Base and a Single-Case Research Meta-Analysis
Hutchins, Nancy Sanchez
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The purpose of this dissertation was to: (1) conduct a systematic literature review to evaluate the quality of the evidence base on social skills interventions (SSIs) for students with or at-risk of emotional behavioral disorder (EBD) and students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who display challenging behavior and (2) conduct a single-case research (SCR) meta-analysis to determine the overall effect and the effect of potential moderators of SSIs for students with or at-risk of EBD and students with ASD who display challenging behavior. For study one, a rubric based on the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) design standards was developed to assess the overall quality of SCR design methodology employed by each of the 24 included studies. One study met all design standards, 10 studies met one or more design standards with reservations, and 13 studies did not meet one or more of the design standards. For study two, the Tau-U effect size was used to synthesize SCR design data and estimate the overall effect size of SSIs on school-related challenging behavior. A total of 301 phase contrasts were analyzed from the 75 participants. The aggregated Tau-U effect size across the 24 included studies was .67 (SE = .02) with a confidence interval of CI_(95) = .63 to .71. The effect size for SSIs on the maintenance of social skills was .79 (SE = .04, CI_(95) = .71 to .87) and included 77 phase contrasts. The effect size for the generalization of social skills was .56 (SE = .08, CI_(95) = .41 to .71) and included 21 phase contrasts. Four moderator variables were identified: target behavior, intervention implementation, intervention development, and methodological quality. Implications for practice, areas of future research, and limitations were addressed.