Social problem-solving skills training and adults with intellectual disability : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University
Previous research has demonstrated that social problem-solving training can significantly improve social problem-solving skill and maladaptive behaviour in adults with mild intellectual disability. A multiple-case study design was used to extend these findings by investigating whether social problem-solving training can decrease psychological distress (i.e., low self-esteem, anxiety and depression), as well as social problem-solving skills and behaviour. Five participants from a vocational community centre, with mild intellectual disability and mental illness and/or challenging behaviour, were invited to participate in 15 sessions of Social problem-solving training. Social problem-solving skill was measured by structured interview, and adaptive and maladaptive behaviour by Adaptive Behavior Scale, before and after training. Participants completed self-reports on depression, anxiety and self-esteem at baseline, pre-treatment, mid-treatment, post-treatment and follow-up. Three out of the five participants completed the training. Participants' individual test-scores and case histories are presented. All three participants showed improvement in social problem-solving skills, and two participants showed improvement in depression. There was no noticeable change in self-esteem or anxiety, but support workers reported improvement in behaviour for two participants. Improvement was maintained at four-week follow-up. Future research may improve results and treatment integrity by involving support staff in the follow-up of between session homework tasks to improve generalization and learning, and by drafting a detailed treatment manual. Further improvement could be enhanced by decreasing the number of sessions to nine to decrease boredom, and by incorporating self-esteem training and social problem-solving training as a daily routine within the community centre.