Date of Award

Summer 7-11-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Diana Robins

Second Advisor

Frank Floyd

Third Advisor

Wing Yi Chan

Abstract

Numerous skill deficits interfere with the social functioning of children with intellectual (ID) and learning disabilities (LD). Due to the limited effectiveness of social skill interventions for this population, it is necessary to explore additional opportunities for social skill acquisition. Research suggests that extracurricular activity participation positively influences adolescent development; however, little is known about the benefits of activity participation for children with ID and LD. This study investigated the impact of frequency and type of extracurricular activity on the social competence of 7-12 year old children with ID (n=42) and LD (n=53), in comparison to their typically developing peers (TD; n=24). More time involved in unstructured activities was related to higher ratings of social competence. Greater participation in unstructured extracurricular activities was particularly beneficial for children with ID. Future research on the quality of involvement is necessary to further understand what specific aspects of activities facilitate social development.

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