Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Cohen, Sherrod, and Clark (1986) suggested that social support has no real effect on its own, and that it is nothing more than a proxy for social skill. The main aim of the present thesis was to use multidimensional measures to clarify the nature of the relationships between social skill, social support, and problem behaviors in boys in residential facilities for conduct disorders. The main features of the method of the thesis involved having 92 boys and staff members of the residential facilities complete a packet of questionnaires. The boys were asked to complete a measure of their perceived social support and a self-rating of social skills. The staff were asked to complete ratings of the boys' social skills and a checklist to assess the boys' problem behaviors. Correlations were computed between these multidimensional measures. Additionally, multiple regression analyses were performed with problem behaviors as the conceptualized dependent variables. The results indicated a consistent pattern of positive relationships between social skills and social support variables. Few patterns of relationships were found between social support and problem behavior. Consistent patterns of negative relationships were found between the staff ratings of boys' social skills and problem behaviors: clear but less consistent patterns of negative relationships were found between boys' self-ratings of social skills and problem behaviors. When the effect of social skill and social support upon conduct problems was examined, the results indicated that some dimensions of social support and the interaction between social skill and these support dimensions had effects greater than that of social skill alone. The pattern of this interaction suggested that as social skill increased conduct problems decreased, with greater decreases at higher levels of social support. However, at lower levels of social skills, decreases in conduct problems were negligible or nonexistent, regardless of the level of social support. Although the results of the present study need to be replicated, the observed additive and interactive effects of social support provide tentative evidence that. Insofar as affecting conduct problem behaviors, social support is more than a proxy for social skills.


Richard P. Schellenberg

Date of Award

Spring 1994

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1994 Matthew Shepherd


For questions contact

Off Campus FHSU Users Click Here