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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996 Dec;64(6):1377-86.

Community-based resilient peer treatment of withdrawn maltreated preschool children.

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Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6216, USA.


The purpose of the present study was to evaluate differences in the social play of maltreated and nonmaltreated preschool children and the effectiveness of a resilient peer treatment (RPT) for socially withdrawn victims of physical abuse and neglect. RPT is a peer-mediated classroom intervention based on a developmental-ecological model. It involves pairing withdrawn children with resilient peers in the natural classroom under the supervision of a parent assistant. Forty-six Head Start children, of whom 22 were maltreated, were randomly assigned to RPT and control conditions. Outcome variables were observational categories of social play and standardized teacher ratings. Before treatment, maltreated children were significantly more isolated and less interactive in peer play than nonmaltreated children. RPT resulted in a significant increase in positive interactive peer play and a decrease in solitary play for maltreated and nonmaltreated, socially withdrawn children. Moreover, treatment gains in social interactions were validated 2 months following treatment. Findings are discussed in terms of a developmental-ecological model.

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