Treatment Response among Preschoolers with EBP: The Role of Social Functioning

  • Rosmary Ros
  • Paulo A. GrazianoEmail author
  • Katie C. Hart


The purpose of the study was to identify profiles of social functioning for preschoolers with externalizing behavior problems (EBP) and examine how profiles are predictive of response to a behavioral treatment program. 139 preschoolers with EBP participated in an 8-week Summer Treatment Program for Pre-Kindergartners (STP-PreK). Latent profiles of social functioning were created from parent and teacher rated atypicality and social skills scales, along with child performance on an emotion knowledge and hostile attribution task. Baseline and treatment outcomes included behavioral, academic, and executive functioning measures. Latent profile analyses resulted in two profiles (e.g., average and low) marked by differences in social skills, emotion knowledge and rates of atypical behaviors. Children in the low social functioning group had higher teacher rated hyperactivity and attention problems at baseline (d = .44 & 1.07), as well as lower IQ (d = .39). Children in the low social functioning group also had poorer treatment response as they had lower executive functioning scores (β = −.17, p < .05) at the completion of treatment. IQ moderated the association between social functioning profiles and behavioral treatment outcomes, such that lower social functioning was only associated with higher rates of attention problems for children with average IQ. Findings highlight the differential impact of social functioning in predicting treatment outcomes.


Externalizing behavior problems Social functioning Behavioral treatment Preschoolers 



The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R324A120136 as well as a local grant from The Children’s Trust (1329-7290) to the second author. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education or The Children’s Trust.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

Rosmary Ros, Paulo A. Graziano and Katie C. Hart declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosmary Ros
    • 1
  • Paulo A. Graziano
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katie C. Hart
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA

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