Web-Based Assessment of Social Information Processing Skills in Adolescent Boys

Period of Performance: 05/15/2009 - 01/31/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Innovation Research and Training, Inc.
Durham, NC 27713
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The purpose of this grant proposal is to develop an audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (audio-CASI) web-based software application for assessing social information processing (SIP) skills in adolescent boys. Research over the past 20 years has established a consistent relationship between SIP skills deficits and aggressive behavior, delinquency, and substance abuse in youth. In addition, the majority of evidence-based prevention and treatment programs for aggression and substance abuse are based upon the SIP model (Crick &Dodge, 1994) and utilize cognitive-behavioral intervention techniques. Despite advances in the study of social cognition, there currently exist no measures of SIP skills with strong psychometric properties for use in clinical settings or for standard administration in research. Thus, mental health and substance abuse professionals and researchers do not have access to state-of-the-art measures to assess the effectiveness of their interventions or to establish treatment goals related to social cognitive functioning. The current proposal is designed to begin to fill these gaps by creating a professional quality, multimedia application with integrated digitized audio and videoclips. Phase I includes two basic sets of aims regarding product development and testing. The product development aim includes creating vignette scripts of common misunderstandings among adolescent boys;filming six scenes involving developmentally appropriate, common social situations concerning an aggressive behavior exhibited by a perpetrator whose intent is ambiguous;designing assessment questions to reliably and validly assess each social information processing mechanism;creating scoring algorithms for the SIP mechanisms;and developing an attractive, user-friendly, developmentally and culturally appropriate web-based application designed for audio-CASI administration that incorporates video vignettes, assessment items, and scoring algorithms to assess SIP skills in adolescent boys. The product testing aims include piloting the video clips and audio-CASI application with 50 youth to determine their appropriateness, clarity, interest, and effectiveness as well as to examine the psychometric properties of the measure to determine its feasibility for use with adolescent boys. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Social Information Processing (SIP) skills play a critical role in adolescents'development and aggressive behavior patterns which in turn, influence the development of substance abuse and delinquent behavior. The creation and evaluation of the psychometric properties of a web-based software application for use with adolescent boys will contribute to detecting social cognitive deficits delineated in the SIP model. The proposed tool will allow for clinicians, counselors, and other mental health and substance abuse prevention professionals to determine which social cognitive skills are problematic and use this knowledge to tailor appropriate techniques for use in interventions with individual at risk boys.