BEHAVIORAL OBSERVATIONS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT OF CHILDREN IN UNITAS

EMILY SUSAN KLASS, Fordham University

Abstract

Comprehensive assessment of outcome in primary preventive mental health interventions requires the utilization of a multimodel approach. Behavioral observations in the natural setting have rarely been applied to assessment of primary preventive interventions, but their addition would contribute to ecological and construct validity. Difficulties that arise in such an application are due to the existing technology of behavioral observation as well as the degradation of the measures in the field setting. Comparing methods of measurement is a necessary first step in determining whether the same construct is being measured and whether either measure is in fact measuring the constructs under investigation.^ Since many primary preventive interventions are based on the bolstering of social competency skills, in the present study behavior observational and psychoeducational measures were used to assess these skills in a primary mental health program. Problem-solving, social support, and prosocial skills were observed during one part of the daily program. The positive observational categories were rationally derived, with negative behaviors observed as well. The posited psychoeducational equivalents to the behavior observational categories were: (a) Weissberg et al.'s (1976) Open Middle Interview (OMI); (b) Gesten's (1981) Social Support Rating Scale; and (c) Iannotti's (1978) Altruism Scale.^ Based on data on these measures obtained, a significant relationship was not found between the behavioral clusters and their proposed psychoeducational equivalents. Also, a factor analysis performed on all positive behaviors did not lend empirical support to the rationally derived behavioral measures. In supplementary analysis, it was found that prosocial behaviors increased in frequency over the summer, but no other behaviors showed significant change.^ Methodological and clinical implications of the study involve the need for further research into the development of social competency skills across childhood, the construction of observational systems that adequately reflect relevant behaviors and constructs, and assessment of psychoeducational measures in areas of social competency for their validity for the populations studied. ^

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

KLASS, EMILY SUSAN, "BEHAVIORAL OBSERVATIONS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT OF CHILDREN IN UNITAS" (1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8615692.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8615692

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