Implicit play or explicit cognitive behaviour therapy : The impact of intervention approaches to facilitate social skills development in adolescents

Journal article


Goldingay, Sophie, Stagnitti, Karen, Robertson, Narelle, Pepin, Genevieve, Sheppard, Loretta and Dean, Belinda. (2020). Implicit play or explicit cognitive behaviour therapy : The impact of intervention approaches to facilitate social skills development in adolescents. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. 67, pp. 360-372. https://doi.org/10.1111/1440-1630.12673
AuthorsGoldingay, Sophie, Stagnitti, Karen, Robertson, Narelle, Pepin, Genevieve, Sheppard, Loretta and Dean, Belinda
Abstract

Introduction
Early adolescence is a time of increased social interaction with peers. Social competence is related to pretend play ability in younger children, but a lack of pretend play ability in childhood may also be associated with social challenges in early adolescence. Adolescents who find social situations challenging experience alienation from peers resulting in lowered self-regard. This paper presents an exploratory study comparing an Implicit group intervention (age-appropriate play based group (PB)) to an Explicit group intervention Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to increase social ability in adolescents.

Methods
Six adolescents, three female and three male, were in the Implicit group (PB; mean age 12.3 years, SD = 1.21). Six male adolescents were in the Explicit group (CBT; mean age 13.3 years, SD = 1.03). All participants were assessed pre- and post the 8-week intervention for social competence, cognitive flexibility and narrative ability. The Implicit group (PB) was assessed through an age appropriate play assessment. Seven participants had a formal diagnosis, including autism spectrum disorder, and all were in mainstream high schools.

Results
The Explicit group (CBT) showed a medium effect for social engagement, total social skills, emotional engagement and a large effect for a decrease in flexible thinking. The Implicit group (PB) showed a large impact for narrative ability with increases in ability to sequence events, initiation and creation of plot, understanding character roles and total movie score, with medium effects for generation of problems, precise vocabulary and use of symbols. The Implicit group (PB) maintained cognitive flexibility, and decreased in social self-scoring which showed medium effects for externalising and internalising.

Conclusion
This paper contributes to evidence that the choice of social skills intervention impacts different skill sets. For neuro-diverse adolescents, the cognitive intervention impacted social and emotional engagement and the play-based intervention impacted a wider range of abilities related to narrative social interaction.

Keywordsadolescent; autism spectrum disorder; social skills; play; occupational therapy
Year2020
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Journal citation67, pp. 360-372
PublisherBlackwell Publishing
ISSN0045-0766
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/1440-1630.12673
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85085693468
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range360-372
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online02 Jun 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted08 May 2020
Deposited07 Jul 2021
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