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Interpersonal Problem Solving in Young Children: A Cognitive Approach to Prevention

NCJ Number
American Journal of Community Psychology Volume: 10 Dated: 1982 Pages: 341-56
Date Published
16 pages

This paper reports on a study that addressed the promotion of mental health and reduction of the risk of serious interpersonal dysfunction; the authors lay out their research methodology, outcomes, and implications for an intervention for young children of low socioeconomic status who are considered at-risk for showing behavioral difficulties.


The authors present their evaluation of an interpersonal cognitive problem-solving (ICPS) intervention, designed to reduce and prevent impulsive and inhibited behaviors in black, low socioeconomic status (SES) four- and five-year-olds. The study was implemented by teachers and evaluated by the authors over a two-year period. In the first year, 113 children were trained and 106 were not. The 131 still-available in kindergarten were divided into four groups: Twice-trained; Once-trained, Nursery; Once-trained, Kindergarten; and Never-trained controls. Findings showed the following: ICPS impact on behavior lasted at least one full year; training was as effective in kindergarten as in nursery; and for this age and SES group, one year of intervention had the same immediate behavior impact as two. Further, the authors note that well-adjusted children trained in nursery were less likely to begin showing behavioral difficulties over the two-year study period than were comparable controls, highlighting the implications of the ICPS approach for primary prevention. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 1982