How Effective Are Different Welfare-to-Work Approaches? Five-Year Adult and Child Impacts for Eleven Programs. Social Skills and Behavior

12/01/2001

Table 12.2 shows impacts on outcomes relating to focal children's social skills and behavior. As described above, outcomes examined in this domain come from reports by mothers, teachers, and children of both positive and problem behaviors.

 

Table 12.2
Impacts on Social Skills and Behavior a

Site and Program

Sample Size Program Group Control Group Difference (Impact) Effect Size

Externalizing behavior (range of 0 to 18) (mother report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 542 3.8 4.2 -0.5** -0.20
Atlanta Human Capital Development 609 3.9 4.2 -0.3 -0.13
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 376 5.5 5.6 -0.1 -0.02
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 358 5.6 5.7 -0.1 -0.02
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 454 4.7 4.9 -0.3 -0.10
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 284 4.8 5.0 -0.2 -0.09
Riverside Human Capital Development 368 4.6 5.0 -0.4 -0.15

Externalizing behavior (range of 0 to 15) (teacher report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 363 4.1 5.1 -1.0** -0.29
Atlanta Human Capital Development 409 4.2 5.1 -0.9** -0.25
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 283 3.7 4.0 -0.2 -0.08
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 259 4.8 3.8 0.9* 0.28
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 323 3.9 3.1 0.8** 0.28
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 205 3.9 3.4 0.5 0.18
Riverside Human Capital Development 272 3.0 3.5 -0.4 -0.16

Internalizing behavior (range of 0 to 24) (mother report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 546 7.7 7.8 -0.1 -0.03
Atlanta Human Capital Development 617 7.7 7.8 -0.0 -0.01
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 376 8.8 9.1 -0.3 -0.08
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 357 8.6 9.1 -0.5 -0.15
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 456 8.6 8.2 0.4 0.14
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 286 8.5 8.4 0.1 0.03
Riverside Human Capital Development 370 8.4 8.3 0.0 0.02

Internalizing behavior (range of 0 to 18) (teacher report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 357 4.0 5.2 -1.2** -0.33
Atlanta Human Capital Development 404 4.2 5.1 -0.9** -0.25
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 281 3.6 4.0 -0.4 -0.13
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 257 4.8 3.9 0.9* 0.27
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 323 3.9 3.2 0.8** 0.27
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 204 3.9 3.5 0.5 0.17
Riverside Human Capital Development 266 3.1 3.6 -0.4 -0.15

Hyperactivity (range of 0 to 18) (mother report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 545 5.9 5.9 -0.0 -0.02
Atlanta Human Capital Development 616 5.9 5.9 -0.1 -0.03
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 379 6.8 6.9 -0.1 -0.02
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 360 6.8 6.9 -0.1 -0.02
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 459 6.6 6.1 0.5 0.17
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 290 6.4 6.1 0.2 0.11
Riverside Human Capital Development 373 6.2 6.1 0.1 0.03

Hyperactivity (range of 0 to 6) (teacher report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 360 1.9 2.2 -0.3* -0.24
Atlanta Human Capital Development 401 1.9 2.2 -0.4** -0.25
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 283 2.0 2.0 0.0 0.03
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 261 2.5 2.0 0.5** 0.32
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 321 2.3 1.9 0.4** 0.29
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 204 2.2 2.0 0.2 0.16
Riverside Human Capital Development 270 2.1 2.1 -0.0 -0.01

Cooperation (range of 0 to 30) (child report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 558 22.5 23.2 -0.7 -0.17
Atlanta Human Capital Development 627 22.9 23.1 -0.3 -0.06
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 378 22.7 23.4 -0.6 -0.14
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 362 22.3 23.4 -1.0** -0.23
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 459 21.9 22.0 -0.1 -0.01
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 289 22.2 21.9 0.3 0.07
Riverside Human Capital Development 384 22.2 21.9 0.3 0.07

Cooperation (range of 0 to 39) (mother report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 549 22.4 21.9 0.5 0.10
Atlanta Human Capital Development 620 22.1 21.9 0.3 0.05
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 382 21.3 22.1 -0.9 -0.13
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 363 21.4 22.1 -0.7 -0.11
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 460 22.3 22.1 0.2 0.03
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 290 22.5 22.3 0.2 0.05
Riverside Human Capital Development 374 23.0 22.2 0.7 0.15

Cooperation (range of 0 to 27) (teacher report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 367 16.2 15.1 1.0 0.18
Atlanta Human Capital Development 410 16.2 15.2 1.0 0.17
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 286 14.9 16.2 -1.3* -0.22
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 261 14.8 16.0 -1.2 -0.21
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 325 15.1 16.2 -1.1 -0.19
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 206 15.4 15.2 0.2 0.03
Riverside Human Capital Development 275 15.1 15.2 -0.2 -0.03

Positive assertion (range of 0 to 30) (child report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 557 20.0 20.1 -0.0 -0.01
Atlanta Human Capital Development 629 19.9 20.1 -0.2 -0.05
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 379 21.3 22.2 -0.9* -0.21
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 363 20.9 22.2 -1.3** -0.29
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 458 19.9 20.0 -0.2 -0.03
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 289 20.0 19.5 0.6 0.12
Riverside Human Capital Development 381 20.1 19.6 0.5 0.12

Positive assertion (range of 0 to 30) (mother report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 549 20.7 20.7 -0.0 -0.01
Atlanta Human Capital Development 619 21.0 20.7 0.3 0.06
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 380 21.2 21.6 -0.4 -0.08
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 360 21.4 21.6 -0.2 -0.05
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 459 21.5 21.7 -0.1 -0.03
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 289 20.9 20.9 -0.0 -0.00
Riverside Human Capital Development 371 21.8 21.0 0.8 0.21

Positive assertion (range of 0 to 18) (teacher report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 363 11.6 10.8 0.8* 0.25
Atlanta Human Capital Development 405 11.6 10.9 0.7 0.21
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 279 10.6 11.0 -0.4 -0.13
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 253 10.5 11.0 -0.5 -0.15
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 318 11.8 11.8 0.1 0.02
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 201 12.2 11.1 1.2** 0.39
Riverside Human Capital Development 266 11.2 11.3 -0.0 -0.01

Self-control (range of 0 to 30) (child report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 558 19.6 19.5 0.1 0.02
Atlanta Human Capital Development 629 19.3 19.5 -0.3 -0.06
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 378 19.9 20.6 -0.7 -0.15
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 362 19.4 20.6 -1.2** -0.25
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 461 18.7 19.0 -0.3 -0.06
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 291 18.9 18.7 0.2 0.05
Riverside Human Capital Development 382 19.0 18.6 0.4 0.08

Self-control (range of 0 to 30) (mother report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 548 16.1 16.1 -0.0 -0.00
Atlanta Human Capital Development 619 15.8 16.0 -0.3 -0.07
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 380 15.4 15.4 0.0 0.01
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 359 15.4 15.5 -0.1 -0.03
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 461 16.4 15.8 0.6 0.14
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 291 16.2 15.2 1.0* 0.26
Riverside Human Capital Development 373 16.5 15.3 1.2** 0.29

Self-control (range of 0 to 27) (teacher report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 359 16.3 15.4 0.9 0.15
Atlanta Human Capital Development 405 16.7 15.4 1.3* 0.23
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 261 15.9 16.0 -0.2 -0.03
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 239 15.3 16.1 -0.8 -0.14
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 307 18.0 17.7 0.3 0.05
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 198 18.4 17.0 1.5 0.28
Riverside Human Capital Development 260 17.3 17.0 0.2 0.05

Empathy (range of 0 to 30) (child report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 559 21.2 20.9 0.2 0.05
Atlanta Human Capital Development 627 21.4 21.0 0.4 0.08
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 377 22.3 22.7 -0.4 -0.09
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 361 22.3 22.8 -0.4 -0.10
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 457 21.0 21.7 -0.7 -0.15
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 288 21.1 21.5 -0.4 -0.08
Riverside Human Capital Development 380 20.9 21.6 -0.7 -0.14

Responsibility (range of 0 to 27) (mother report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 559 17.4 17.6 -0.2 -0.06
Atlanta Human Capital Development 624 18.1 17.5 0.5 0.14
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 383 17.8 17.7 0.1 0.03
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 365 17.8 17.8 0.0 0.01
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 473 17.6 17.8 -0.3 -0.07
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 298 17.4 17.3 0.1 0.03
Riverside Human Capital Development 390 18.3 17.4 0.9* 0.24

Interpersonal skills (range of 0 to 12) (teacher report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 364 7.7 7.1 0.6** 0.26
Atlanta Human Capital Development 408 7.9 7.1 0.**7 0.30
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 279 7.4 7.5 -0.2 -0.07
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 254 7.1 7.5 -0.5 -0.18
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 322 8.2 8.3 -0.1 -0.04
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 205 8.4 7.9 0.5 0.26
Riverside Human Capital Development 272 8.0 8.0 -0.1 -0.03

Positive approaches to learning (range of 0 to 18)(teacher report)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 366 10.9 10.4 0.5 0.16
Atlanta Human Capital Development 408 10.9 10.4 0.5 0.15
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 279 10.1 10.7 -0.6 -0.16
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 254 10.0 10.7 -0.7 -0.19
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 324 10.6 10.8 -0.2 -0.07
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 206 10.5 10.2 0.3 0.10
Riverside Human Capital Development 274 10.5 10.3 0.2 0.07
SOURCE: Child Trends calculations from the Five-Year Child Outcomes Study Survey (mother, teacher, and child reports).
NOTES:  See Appendix A.2
A higher score on each measure indicates that the child demonstrates more of the construct.

The largest concentration of impacts across programs, and typically within a given program, occurred in this domain of outcomes. All six programs affected children's social skills and behavior, though the direction of these impacts differed depending on the site (the Atlanta and Grand Rapids programs) or on mothers' level of education at baseline (the Riverside programs). Both Atlanta programs improved social skills and behavior, as did the Riverside HCD program and the Riverside LFA program for children whose mothers lacked a high school diploma or basic skills at baseline. In contrast, both Grand Rapids programs had unfavorable impacts on children's social skills and behavior, as did the Riverside LFA program for the full sample (that is, regardless of mothers' level of education at baseline).

Both Atlanta programs decreased problem behaviors and simultaneously increased positive behaviors.(9) Specifically, both programs decreased teacher-reported levels of externalizing, internalizing, and hyperactive behavior and increased teacher-reported levels of interpersonal skills. Further, both programs resulted in lower levels of mother-rated externalizing behavior and higher levels of teacher-reported positive assertion (a measure of children's positive initiations toward others in social situations), though the differences for the HCD program were just beyond the cutoff for statistical significance. The Atlanta HCD program also increased levels of children's self-control as rated by the teacher.(10)

In contrast to Atlanta, the impacts on social skills and behavior in Grand Rapids were uniformly unfavorable, with both programs decreasing focal children's positive behaviors and the HCD program also increasing problem behaviors. For instance, both programs decreased child-reported levels of assertion and decreased levels of both child- and teacher-reported cooperation, although the differences in child-reported cooperation in the LFA program and teacher-reported cooperation in the HCD program were just beyond the cutoff for statistical significance.(11) The HCD program also decreased children's reports of their own self-control and simultaneously increased their problem behavior, increasing teacher-reported levels of externalizing, internalizing, and hyperactive behavior.

The impacts on social skills and behavior were fewer in Riverside than in Atlanta or in the Grand Rapids HCD program and varied according to mothers' level of education at baseline. The Riverside LFA program increased problem behaviors for the full sample (regardless of mothers' level of education at baseline), while both the LFA and the HCD programs increased positive behaviors for the subsample of children whose mothers had limited education at baseline. Specifically, in the full sample the LFA program increased levels of teacher-reported externalizing, internalizing, and hyperactive behavior.(12) This program also increased mother-reported levels of hyperactive behavior, though this difference was just beyond the cutoff for statistical significance (an effect size of .17). Yet, for the subsample of mothers without a high school diploma or basic skills at baseline, both the LFA and HCD programs improved behavioral outcomes, for example, increasing mother-reported levels of self-control in children. Further, the LFA program increased teacher-rated levels of assertion, self-control, and interpersonal skills for this subgroup.(13) Notably, the favorable impact of the Riverside LFA program on teacher-reported levels of positive assertion for this subgroup was quite large compared with the other impacts in the social skills and behavior domain, with an effect size of .39. The Riverside HCD program also increased mother-reported levels of responsibility and assertion, although the latter impact was just beyond the cutoff for statistical significance.

With few exceptions, the magnitude of the impacts in the social skills and behavior domain across the six programs ranged from .20 to .30 of a standard deviation. These effect sizes fall at the lower end of the effect size range for some of the more successful programs that directly targeted children, such as the Perry Preschool Program and the Abecedarian Project.(14) Given that the programs evaluated in this chapter did not directly intervene with children, the fact that these effect sizes are within the range of those found in the child-focused programs is perhaps surprising and suggests that the welfare-to-work programs examined here affected children's behavior in nontrivial ways.

Further, the impacts described in this section were found on social skills and behavior that are likely to be meaningful for children's future development. Positive social skills may be important for children's success in the school setting, as well as for the development of positive relationships with peers and adults, and therefore may have implications for successful functioning later in life.(15) In addition, research has shown that problem social behaviors that go untreated are related to "poor academic performance, and may result in later social maladjustment problems or serious psychopathology."(16) Early problem behaviors have also been identified as predictors of later delinquency in adolescence.(17)