THE EFFECT OF COPING SKILLS TRAINING ON THE CLASSROOM BEHAVIORS OF STUDENTS WITH SERIOUS LEARNING PROBLEMS

STEPHEN HENRY HAMELBURG, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of participation in a Coping Skills Training program on the ability of students with serious learning problems to decrease inappropriate classroom behavior. It also examined the effects of this cognitive-behavioral intervention on students' perceived levels of social-evaluative stress. The study represents the first attempt to apply a cognitive-behavioral treatment approach utilizing the Coping Skills Training model to reduce the incidence of inappropriate classroom behavior among junior high school students with serious learning problems.^ The sample included 140 junior high school youngsters with serious learning problems. Sixty students manifesting inappropriate classroom behavior, as defined by scores on the Modified Stony Brook Classroom Observation Code, were differentiated into Stress and No Stress groups on the basis of their responses on the Social Avoidance and Distress Scale and the Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale. Students were then randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: Coping Skills Training, Attention Placebo, and No Treatment Control.^ Students participated in a treatment program consisting of two, 40 minute sessions per week over a four consecutive week period. Coping Skills Training group students were trained in this cognitive-behavioral model in three phases. They were instructed in the conceptual framework of Coping Skills Training and were taught the role of self-statements in determining emotionally avoidant behavior (educational phase). Participants were provided with a variety of coping techniques and encouraged to practice them under laboratory conditions (rehearsal phase). Training concluded with participants employing the learned techniques under actual stressful conditions (application phase).^ Attention Placebo group students participated in a general counseling program along the same time lines as the Coping Skills Training group. The exposure to treatment and the goals of the treatment were identical to those of the Coping Skills Training group but included a different treatment methodology. The No Treatment Control group students remained active in the resource room program and did not participate in any intervention procedure.^ The results of this study demonstrated that Coping Skills Training, as a cognitive-behavioral therapeutic intervention, significantly reduced the manifestation of inappropriate classroom behavior of youngsters with serious learning problems in comparison to nonparticipants with similar learning problems. This therapeutic intervention, however, did not significantly alter the perceived social-evaluative stress levels of the participants. It was demonstrated, however, that Coping Skills Training was an effective intervention strategy in the reduction of inappropriate classroom behavior regardless of stress group affiliation.^ Students with serious learning problems who participated in the Coping Skills Training intervention approach became more sensitive to the cues that signaled anxiety and inappropriate behavior. They developed more appropriate mediational skills that were voluntarily inserted between thought and behavior. The mediational skills served, in effect, to reduce impulsivity and maladaptive behavior patterns and lead to greater self-control and to more socially accepted behavior.^ Overall, the present findings are consistent with many other earlier reports of the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral approaches in dealing with inappropriate behavior. Thus, the reduction of inappropriate classroom behavior appears as robust, if not more so, than other self-control interventions. Coping Skills Training has been found to be a framework for better self-control and the development of more appropriate social skills for students with serious learning problems. ^

Subject Area

School counseling

Recommended Citation

HAMELBURG, STEPHEN HENRY, "THE EFFECT OF COPING SKILLS TRAINING ON THE CLASSROOM BEHAVIORS OF STUDENTS WITH SERIOUS LEARNING PROBLEMS" (1981). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8109077.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8109077

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