Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


School psychologists--Iowa; School psychologists--Nebraska; Social skills--Study and teaching--Iowa; Social skills--Study and teaching--Nebraska;


Social skills allow individuals to develop and maintain positive relationships with others, to negotiate daily social tasks, and to provide for the appropriate communication and assertion of one's needs, desires, and preferences. In contrast, a deficit in social skills refers to an individual's lack of successful outcomes in social relationships, and may be associated with diverse types of unproductivity, stress, social conflict, and/or psychopathology. Given that empirical evidence has accumulated with respect to the negative effects of social skills deficits, the acquisition, possession, and successful performance of appropriate social skills has been the focus of recent attention and research.

School psychologists are just one of the education professionals faced with the challenge of assessing and facilitating the possession and performance of social skills among today's children. However, while previous studies have explored the social interventions currently being used by education professionals, few, if any have explored the current practices of school psychologists in the area of social skills. Because social skills is an area in which school psychologists are designated to practice according to current professional standards (NASP, 1992), examinjng what school psychologists are currently doing in this area will help to determine if they are adequately taking on this responsibility in current practice.

This study attempts to address these issues by examining what school psychologists in the states of Iowa and Nebraska are currently doing in the area of social skills. Specifically, this study was designed to examine school psychologists' perception of the importance of work done in social skills, and to investigate what these school psychologists are currently doing in the area of social skills. A 28-item survey instrument was designed to gather such information. Two hundred school psychologists were chosen to receive this survey, l 00 from Iowa and 100 from Nebraska.

Overall, the results of this study indicate that the majority of school psychologists in both states perceived work in the area of social skills to be important, practiced in the area of social skills, and spent somewhere between 0-25% of their time working in the area of social skills. The majority of school psychologists also indicated that they made some effort to evaluate the effectiveness of their work in social skills, and to promote the generalization of newly learned social skills. Other methods of practice and types of materials used varied to some degree among school psychologists in both states. These results indicate that overall, the majority of school psychologists surveyed see themselves as directing some time and effort toward enhancing the social skills of children.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Deborah K. Deemer, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vi, 74 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download