A self-help problem-solving video for parents and teens: social validity and generalization of acquired skills
Hook, Richard J.
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A self-administered problem-solving skill training video for nonclinical families with teens is evaluated. The study focuses on the generalization of skills to naturalistic family conversations and the program's social validity: potential iatrogenic aggravation of family problems, perceived effectiveness, and program enjoyment. Seventy families with young teens were randomly assigned to two treatment groups. One group (skill) viewed a skill training program that included information about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Another group (control) viewed a similar program that lacked the skill training component. Family conversations were recorded in the families' homes before (pretest), two weeks after (posttest), and four months after (follow-up) the families received the programs. In an associated study, the skill group demonstrated greater levels of skill than controls in role-plays. In the present study, skill families demonstrated greater knowledge of problem-solving than controls at posttest and follow-up (p < .001). Analysis of the conversations revealed generally superior skill performance in the skill group. Significant group differences in skill were found in naturalistic conversations about previously discussed problems at posttest (p < .05). Performance differences in conversations about novel topics were not significant. No significant skill differences were observed at follow-up. Correlations of skill measures from the role-play and conversation assessments revealed moderate behavioral consistency (r = -.02 to .37). The conversation analysis revealed no significant group differences in the number of families showing increases or decreases in their use of degrading comments after program exposure, but a somewhat significantly greater number of skill families demonstrated a reduction in the number of additional problems raised in their conversations at posttest and follow-up (p = .06). No significant group differences were found in observer ratings of problem-solving effectiveness, measures of parent problem-solving confidence, family ratings of the program's effects on their ability to cope with family problems, program enjoyment, or satisfaction with the management of family problems. Implications for the development of effective, socially valid, self-help, media programs are discussed.
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