Evaluation of a Music Therapy Social Skills Development Program for Youth with Limited Resources

Typically, children living in low socio-economic status with low resources are at a higher risk for lower performance in academics and socio-emotional development. Within this study Dr. Varvara Pasiali and Dr. Cherie Clark wanted to examine the potential outcomes of incorporating a music therapy social skills development program into a community with lower resources in their after school programing.  The researchers wanted to see if this program had any effects on the academic performance socio-emotional development of the school-aged children within this program. Therefore, the researchers utilized a single group pre/post test design and recruited 20 students from an after school program. The participants consisted of 9 males and 11 females ranging from ages 5-11 years old. The music therapy social skills group consisted of eight 50-minute sessions. Social competence and antisocial behavior was measured by the Home and Community Social Behavioral Scale (HCSBS) created by Merrell and Caldarella in 2008.  The social skills, problem behaviors, and academic competence were measured by the Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) created by Gresham and Elliot in 2008. The results showed no significant change between the Home and Community Social Behavioral Scales results. However, there was a significant decrease in low performance/high risk skills. The teacher results for the SSIS showed significant decrease of hyperactivity, autistic behavioral tendencies, and overall problem behaviors as well as a significant increase in communication. The results also showed marginal decreases in internalization. The parents’ SSIS results mirrored the same results as the teachers in this study. Therefore, these results indicate that there is the potential for music therapy as an effective intervention in school-aged kids to promote social confidence in children with limited resources. The most potential effects resulting in low performance/high risk behavior and communication. Interventions that emerged from this study as possible successful modes for teaching these skills were song lyrics and improvisation.

By Kylie Rodríguez, MM, MT-BC

V., C., & C. (2018, May 21). Evaluation of a Music Therapy Social Skills Development Program for Youth with Limited Resources | Journal of Music Therapy | Oxford Academic. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1093/jmt/thy007