Social problem solving abilities and adjustment of elementary school children

Lynn Marie Trigani, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the social problem solving (SPS) abilities of elementary school children and to examine the relationship between these abilities and adjustment. The SPS abilities of 114 fourth, fifth, and sixth grade boys and girls were individually assessed, utilizing the Children's Interpersonal Problem Solving test, Means-Ends Problem Solving Inventory, and Multiple Consequences test. Adjustment was measured using a teacher rating scale and self-reports. To examine the effects of grade level and sex on SPS abilities, a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was performed. Results indicated significant differences between the SPS abilities of children at all three grade levels. The fourth graders generated significantly fewer alternative solutions and considered significantly fewer consequences than the fifth and sixth graders. The sixth graders articulated significantly more "means" than the fourth and fifth graders. No significant differences were found according to sex or grade by sex interaction effects. To examine the effects of SPS abilities and sex on adjustment, MANOVAs were performed on each of the adjustment measures. Results indicated significant differences between alternative solutions generation and behavior, on the self-concept measure and teacher ratings. Subjects in the High Alternative Solutions group rated themselves and were rated by teachers as better behaved than subjects in the Low Alternative Solutions group. Results also indicated significant differences between consequential thinking ability and anxiety. Subjects in the High Consequential Thinking group reported fewer social concerns than subjects in the Low Consequential Thinking group. In addition, high consequential thinkers were rated by teachers as less anxious. Significant gender differences were also found. Girls perceived themselves as better behaved than boys on the self-concept measure. The implications of these findings, regarding the development of effective, SPS intervention programs, are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Psychology

Recommended Citation

Trigani, Lynn Marie, "Social problem solving abilities and adjustment of elementary school children" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9136343.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9136343

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