Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Interdisciplinary Education

Major Professor

Kathy Bradley-Klug, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Michael Curtis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jonathan Greenstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron, Ph.D.


Social problems, Social competence, Intervention, Peer interactions, Direct observations


A diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is given when a child exhibits developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. In addition to academic and behavior problems, these children often have significant social problems. Since social problems are associated with a greater risk for developing problems later in life, a number of interventions have been attempted to normalize the social interactions of children with ADHD. These have included stimulant medication, cognitive-behavioral interventions, behavior modification, and social skills training. Additionally, attempts have been made to maximize the benefits of these interventions by combining them. Typically this involves combining stimulant medication with one of the other non-pharmacological interventions. Unfortunately, no one intervention or combination of interventions has stood out as the clear choice for improving the social problems of children with ADHD. Therefore, more research is needed to clarify this issue.

Social skills training is often used in clinical and school settings for children with ADHD who experience social problems, despite the apparent lack of empirical evidence for its effectiveness. Social skills training programs frequently report success, but the evidence for success is taken only from anecdotal reports by parents and teachers. The purpose of this study was to document the effectiveness of a social skills training program for children with ADHD.

A social skills intervention program was implemented for four children with ADHD. Eight weekly sessions focused on six targeted social skills. All four children were administered their prescribed stimulant medication for the duration of the training. In addition to small group training with the four target children, weekly classroom guidance lessons were conducted in each child's general education classroom focusing on the skill taught that week in small group. The target children were observed weekly in the playground setting at their schools prior to and during the training. Their parents and teachers completed the ADHD Rating Scale-IV and the Social Skills Rating System both pre-and post-training. A multiple baseline across behaviors design was used. Although three of the four children showed improvement on teacher ratings scales. Further, none of the parent rating scales showed improvement. None of the children showed improvement as evidenced through direct observational data.