Assessment of Treatment Gains Following Social Skills Intervention: Parent and Adolescent Perceptions of Social Anxiety and Social Engagement

Poster Presentation
Friday, May 11, 2018: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Hall Grote Zaal (de Doelen ICC Rotterdam)
E. Veytsman1, Y. Bolourian2, R. Ellingsen3, J. Blacher1 and E. A. Laugeson4, (1)Graduate School of Education, University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA, (2)University of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA, (3)Psychiatry, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, (4)Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

The use of multiple informants in the assessment of treatment gains is critical in obtaining a better understanding of treatment progress. Some studies show inconsistencies between youth and parent report of socioemotional functioning among youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (e.g., Knott et al., 2006). The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS), an evidence-based social skills intervention, has been effective in improving adolescent social engagement and lessening social anxiety (Laugeson et al., 2012; Laugeson et al., 2009; Schohl et al., 2014). Previous correlational findings showed increased agreement between adolescent and parent ratings of adolescents’ social anxiety and social engagement after participation in PEERS. However, the effect of informant ratings on treatment gains has yet to be examined.


The current study examines the association of parent and adolescent ratings on improvements of social anxiety and social engagement following an evidence-based social skills intervention.


Participants included 133 adolescents (males=110; females=23) 11-18 years of age (M=14.02, SD=1.79) with ASD who attended 14 sessions of a weekly 90-minute social skills group (PEERS) with their parents. In order to assess adolescent social anxiety, parents and adolescents completed the Social Anxiety Scale (SAS; La Greca 1999) at pre- and post-test. The SAS Total Score was utilized in analyses. Parents and adolescents also completed the Quality of Socialization Questionnaire (QSQ; Frankel & Mintz 2008) at these two time points to assess the frequency of hosted and invited get-togethers in the previous month.

In order to determine the magnitude of change in adolescent social anxiety and social engagement by rater over time, gain scores on the SAS and QSQ were computed, and analyses of variance (ANOVA) were utilized with rater (parent vs. adolescent) as the independent variable. A significant omnibus test indicates that the mean change from pretest to posttest is not the same by rater.


Paired sample t tests revealed significant improvements on the SAS and on both domains of the QSQ as per parent and adolescent ratings (p < .05). ANOVAs of gain scores yielded no significant difference between raters on the SAS Total Score, F (1, 215) = .28, p > .05, or on the number of invited get-togethers on the QSQ, F (1, 218) = .33, p > .05. However, a significantly greater increase in hosted get-togethers per adolescent ratings (M = 2.20, SE = .27) was detected as compared to parent ratings (M = 1.38, SE = .27), F (1, 219) = 4.59, p < .05.


Consistent with previous findings, parents and adolescents reported improvements on measures of social anxiety and engagement following the PEERS intervention. Analyses of gain scores were utilized to determine if treatment gains differed by parent and adolescent ratings. Overall, findings suggest that parents and adolescents perceive similar rates of improvement. However, adolescents reported a greater increase in the number of hosted get-togethers. This discrepancy in parent and adolescent report may be socially normative as adolescents become less socially anxious and more socially engaged and independent in planning their own get-togethers.