Social and Emotional Skills Training with Young Children

Period of Performance: 05/01/2007 - 04/30/2009


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

3-C Institute for Social Development
DURHAM, NC 27713
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Decades of research in developmental psychopathology support the significant and unique contribution of socio-emotional problems in the emergence of a myriad of negative outcomes, including heightened risk for psychiatric disorders and use of mental health services. This Phase II project continues research and development of an Emotional Intelligence (El) intervention, "Insight!", for children ages 5-7. "Insight!" offers multi-media resources and a skill-based curriculum specifically aimed at enhancing El competencies that is innovative in content and format. It provides a unique means of bridging the intervention setting with home efforts to promote emotional and social functioning of children. During Phase I, the prototype was developed and tested for feasibility with community- and school-based mental health professionals and elementary school teachers. Skill acquisition and product feasibility were tested with parents and children. Product feasibility was successfully established and substantial support for continued development was provided. Phase II will utilize Phase I findings to revise, modify, and extend intervention components to maximize quality and effectiveness. Once finalized, a scientific evaluation of intervention efficacy for mastery of El concepts and positive changes in emotional, social, and behavioral functioning will be conducted. Given "Insight!" is applicable within both community and school settings, two efficacy trials will be conducted. For the clinic-based trial, 100 children will be randomly assigned to treatment or control conditions. For the school-based trial, six K-2nd grade classrooms in each of two participating schools (one treatment, one control) will be randomly chosen to participate. For both trials, outcome data will be collected from child participants, parents, and teachers regarding participants' skill acquisition and emotional, social and behavioral functioning. Children, parents, and professionals will also evaluate quality and usability of "Insight!". Spanish translations of final versions will be created and a web-based distribution center developed with access to downloadable materials, shopping cart capability, and options for participation in interactive online training. Development of psychiatric disorders due to socio-emotional deficits is a public health concern with annual US economic, indirect cost of mental illnesses estimated at $79 billion. Development and implementation of efficacious El interventions such as "Insight!" can reduce these costs.