Exploring the Relationship between Social Skills Knowledge and Reported Family Quality of Life through PEERS

Poster Presentation
Thursday, May 10, 2018: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Hall Grote Zaal (de Doelen ICC Rotterdam)
J. Mueller1 and L. Dewey2, (1)Nemours/Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE, (2)Nemours/AIDHC, Wilmington , DE
Background: The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS), a social skills group program developed at UCLA (Laugeson and Frankel, 2010), teaches social skills to adolescents with ASD using simultaneous adolescent and parent groups. Research suggests that engagement in social skills groups for teens with ASD can not only improve peer relationships, but also their family’s quality of life (Rankin et al., 2016; Laugeson et al., 2012; Haddad, 2013). Additionally, it is understood that parents highly value the acquisition of social skills in their teen with ASD (Rankin et al., 2016). Consequently, many of the factors impeding a high family quality of life for families with a child with ASD stem from social skills deficits (Lee, L., Harrington, R., Louie, B., and Newschaffer, C., 2008; Rao, R. & Beidel, D., 2009).

Objectives: This research project aims to better understand the impact of PEERS on family quality of life and social skills knowledge. Aim 1: Better understand possible reported change in family quality of life and social skills knowledge after participation in PEERS; Aim 2: Assess a possible relationship to between family quality of life and social skill knowledge.

Methods: The adolescent completed the Test of Adolescent Social Skills Knowledge (TASSK) and the parent completed the Family Quality of Life Scale (FQOL) pre and post completion of the PEERS group. Pre and post scores on the TASSK and the FQOL were assessed using repeated measures t-tests, and regression analysis was used to determine if changes in the TAASK scores were related to changes in FQOL scores

Results: Thirty families enrolled in PEERS across Delaware (age range of child: 7-17; M=13 years; Males=23, Females=7), and 14 families were considered to have completed PEERS (attended 10 or more sessions and completed both pre and post measures). No difference was reported regarding family quality of life (FQOL: t(13)=-.737, p=.474) following PEERS. However, there was a significant improvement in the scores on the TASSK after PEERS intervention (TASSK: t(9)=-7.592, p=.000). Nevertheless, there was no significant effect of social skills knowledge on family quality of life (F(5, 1)=.148, p=.972).

Conclusions: This study shows that adolescents gained social skills knowledge after completion of PEERS. However, increase in social skills knowledge did not seem to impact family quality of life. It is possible that other factors of social skills interactions might contribute to family quality of life, and future research is needed to understand the impact of social skills group interventions on families. This information can help guide future research in understanding the need for other social interventions and family focused treatment to improve quality of life for families with an adolescent with ASD.