Abstract: Dyadic Deviant and Prosocial Communication Improved By a Universal School Based Intervention? (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

251 Dyadic Deviant and Prosocial Communication Improved By a Universal School Based Intervention?

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Esther C. A. Mertens, MSc., PhD Candidate, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
Maja Dekovic, Prof. Dr., Professor, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
Monique Van londen, Dr., Researcher, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
Ellen Reitz, Dr., Assistant professor, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
Introduction: The aim of the present observational study (as part of a larger project on the effectiveness of the universal school based intervention Rock and Water (R&W) on social emotional development and social safety) was to examine whether R&W improves (more prosocial and less deviant) dyadic communication between classmates following a low educational track. The video-observations to assess communication were innovative: The Peer Interaction Task (PIT) (1) was adapted to be used within an intervention framework, (2) observations were conducted on two time points (pre-post) to measure change in communication and (3) same-sex dyads were randomly composed of classmates (instead of friends), (4) discussing daily school situations, and (5) coding prosocial as well as deviant communication.

Methods: A subsample of 130 students from 6 schools (31 dyads in R&W; 34 dyads in control condition) participated. Video-observations of same-sex dyads were coded for prosocial ( “I would ask him to sit with us”) and deviant ( “I would hit him”) verbal and non-verbal communication. Additionally, reinforcement (laughing) of prosocial or of deviant talk was coded.

Results: Preliminary repeated measures ANOVAs conducted for each condition separately showed that within the R&W condition prosocial talk and reinforcement and deviant reinforcement did not change over time (F(1, 61) = 2.30, p = .135; F(1, 61) = 2.05, p = .157; F(1, 61) = 2.74, p = .103). Deviant communication significantly increased over time (F(1, 61) = 10.06, p = .002). Within the control condition prosocial talk and reinforcement decreased over time (F(1, 67) = 4.45, p = .039; F(1, 67) = 6.46, p = .013). Deviant talk and reinforcement increased over time (F(1, 67) = 14.11, p < .001; F(1, 67) = 10.50, p = .002)

However, preliminary multilevel regression analyses comparing the two conditions showed that there were no significant differences between the R&W and control condition on the post measurement concerning prosocial talk (B = .16, p = .111) or reinforcement (B = -.01, p = .816), and deviant talk (B = .38, p = .336) or reinforcement (B = .20, p = .529).

Conclusions: It appeared that R&W did not improve students’ communication compared to the control condition. However, when looking at the conditions separately it seemed that the communication within the R&W condition was fairly stable whereas the communication within the control condition deteriorated. Future research should further examine the effect universal school based interventions could have on students’ communication using an objective measure such as this adapted PIT observation task instead of subjective self-report questionnaires.