Problem Solving and Verbal Comprehension in Children of Distressed Families.Report as inadecuate

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As increasingly younger children exhibit spiraling social behavior problems, researchers are focusing on the role of family dynamics in these problems. For this study, investigators explored the relationship between problem-solving skills and verbal comprehension in children from distressed families. Twenty-nine children, ages 4 to 8, completed the Preschool Interpersonal Problem Solving (PIPS) Test, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test--Revised (PPVT-R), and provided solutions to a contrived problem. Results indicate that children from homes with distressed and abusive parents, exhibit a strong, positive relationship between verbal comprehension and the ability to generate solutions to interpersonal problems. However, verbal comprehension did not affect either the quality of children's responses or their actual behavioral choices in a real-life problem situation. It seems that verbal comprehension is related to children's ability to verbally generate solutions to interpersonal problems, but verbal comprehension does not appear to mediate the quality of their solutions. Furthermore, when challenged with a peer problem involving a desired object, older and younger children are equally likely to choose an aggressive solution. These findings suggest that intervention strategies for behavior problems in elementary-school-age children should first consider building their verbal comprehension. (RJM)

Descriptors: At Risk Persons, Child Behavior, Conflict Resolution, Language Processing, Primary Education, Problem Children, Problem Solving, Verbal Ability, Verbal Communication, Young Children

Author: Wurm, Tracie L.; Haskett, Mary E.


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