Impact of a Social Skills Program on Children’s Stress: A Cluster Randomized Trial

Impact of a Social Skills Program on Children’s Stress: A Cluster Randomized Trial

Impact of a Social Skills Program on Children’s Stress: A Cluster Randomized Trial

Impact of a Social Skills Program on Children’s Stress: A Cluster Randomized Trials

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Référence bibliographique [20671]

Psychoneuroendocrinology, vol. 104, p. 115-121.

Fiche synthèse

1. Objectifs


Intentions :
This article aims «to test whether preschoolers attending a child care center with a social skills intervention component, by educators with specific training, showed more normative patterns of diurnal cortisol secretion than children not exposed to such a program. Additionally, [authors test] whether the impact of the intervention varied as a function of family income […].» (p. 116)

Questions/Hypothèses :
«[C]hildren from lower-income families were hypothesized to benefit the most from social skills training.» (p. 116)

2. Méthode


Échantillon/Matériau :
L’échantillon est composé de 186 enfants qui reçoivent une intervention pour des problèmes de sommeil dans un service de garde et 175 autres enfants qui sont sur la liste d’attente pour en bénéficier et qui composent le groupe contrôle. Les questionnaires ont été remplis par les parents de ces enfants et par des éducatrices (n=22 éducatrices pour le groupe expérimental et 21 éducatrices pour le groupe contrôle). Les enfants proviennent de 19 services de garde dans des quartiers à faible revenu de Montréal.

Instruments :
Questionnaires

Type de traitement des données :
Analyse statistique

3. Résumé


«Whereas both the intervention and control groups in participating child care centers exhibited flat diurnal cortisol secretion at baseline, we found that children exposed to the intervention exhibited more typical, decreasing levels of cortisol secretion throughout the day, as compared to controls. Further, children from lower-income families seemed to benefit more from the intervention than those from middle-or higher-income backgrounds. Interestingly, in the intervention group, children from higher-income families had diurnal patterns characterized by early suppression of morning cortisol, whereas children from middle- and low-income families had greater cortisol suppression in the afternoon, as compared to controls. A possible explanation for the sharper decline in the diurnal cortisol slope in children from lower-income families is that they may be more sensitive than others to the intervention and to the ensuing changes in the child care environment. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to be disruptive […] and to be victimized in peer-play interactions […]. The social skills intervention might have enhanced the dynamic of the group as a whole, thereby helping the children most at risk. Fewer social challenges and confrontations in the intervention group might explain the observed cortisol decreases. For the control group, the increasing cortisol levels observed for low- and middle-income children similarly point to the idea that these children were in need of an intervention fostering a less stressful environment.» (p. 120)