FEASIBILITY STUDY OF COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY-BASED INTERVENTION FOR ENHANCING SOCIAL SKILLS AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL CHILDREN IN PAKISTAN: A RANDOMIZED CONTROL TRIAL
Social skills deficits interfere with academic, emotional and social functioning, and are frequent among adolescents with behavioral and emotional problems. The current study was carried out to assess the feasibility of cognitive behavioral therapy-based intervention that aims at improving social skills among secondary school children in Pakistan. For this purpose, Initial screening was carried out of N=651 students, age range 14-18 years, using BASC- Behavioral and Emotional Screening system 3. Students were selected from four different schools of Rawalpindi, Pakistan. A randomized contrail was carried out and 28 students were randomized in intervention group and control group with randomization ratio 1:1. Intervention group was given cognitive behavior therapy based social skills training, that was comprised of weekly group sessions. The results were encouraging and showed a significant change in Personal Risk Index (PRI) due to treatment in timeline (F=40.48, p=.00, ηp 2=.67), group (F=16.36, p=.00, ηp 2=.45) and interaction of group*timeline (F=19.67, p=.00, ηp 2=.49). Moreover, a change is also noted in internalizing risk and an improvement in self-regulation. In addition to this, an overall decline in Behavioral and Emotional Risk index is also evident. These trials highlight the importance of implementation of social skills training programs for children and may further help in the capacity building of teachers to enhance social skills in students.