Document Sample

December, 1977

f^:W T3

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I wish to express my sincerest appreciation to Dr. Jan Harrell for her continual encouragement and guidance as thesis advisor. I am also grateful for her consistent

interest in my growth as a professional and as a person. Sincere thanks is also extended to Dr. Carl Ridley and Dr. Gerald Parr for their contributions and support as thesis committee members. I am grateful to Leigh Leslie and Nancy McCunney for their assistance with the statistical analysis of the data used in this study and to Lynda Haynes for her help with proofreading. Finally, I wish to express my deep appreciation to my family and friends who provided support in many ways during this project.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ABSTRACT LIST OF TABLES I. INTRODUCTION Affiliative Needs of College Students Therapeutic Needs of College Students Lack of Satisfying Friendships Interpersonal Competence as a Strategic Approach Theoretical Support for Skills Training Previous Skills Training Programs Hypotheses II. METHODS Subjects Measures Texas Social Behavior Inventory Interpersonal Competency Scale . . . . . . . . . . Interpersonal . . . .

ii V vii 1 4 6 8


14 16 21 22 22 23 24 24

Openness of Communication and Need Satisfaction Within Friendships Procedure Design Training Program Control Group Treatment . . . 25 25 25 25 28



RESULTS Preliminary Analyses Main Analyses

29 29 31 37 38 41 43 43 43 44 45 48 49 53


DISCUSSION The Sample The Measures The T r e a t m e n t Implications E m p i r i c a l Implications T h e o r e t i c a l Implications A p p l i e d Implications


54 55 58


ABSTRACT The purpose of the present study was to determine some effects of interpersonal skills training on the interpersonal competence, communication, and need satisfaction of college freshmen. Specifically, it was hypothesized that

students receiving interpersonal skills training relative to a control group of students would demonstrate a greater increase in interpersonal competence, openness of communication, and need satisfaction. The experimental group was

composed of first semester Arts and Sciences freshmen (13 males, 16 females) who were selected at random and invited to enroll in a 15-week interpersonal skills training course. First semester Arts and Sciences freshmen (9 males, 14 females) enrolled in a randomly selected freshmen English course comprised the control group. Both groups completed Results

the measures during the first and last week of class.

indicated no significant differences between the experimental and control groups on any of the measures due to treatment. The experimental group, however, did demonstrate more absolute increase on all measures except one, though not to the point of significance. Possible reasons for lack of signifithe invited students who

cance were discussed and included:

ultimately enrolled in the skills training course felt a deficit in their own competence; an increased awareness of


competence among experimental group students may have influenced a lower self rating at posttest; and the measures selected for this study may not have been sensitive enough to short-term change or the treatment itself not potent enough to affect change within this time period. Although

it cannot be supported from this study that interpersonal skills training enhances students' levels of interpersonal competence, communication, or need satisfaction, the investigator proposes additional research to more tightly control for extraneous variables before final conclusions are drawn.


LIST OF TABLES 1. Means, Standard Deviations and Analysis of Covariance Comparing the Experimental and Control Groups on Social Competence Means, Standard Deviations and Analysis of Covariance Comparing the Experimental and Control Groups on Interpersonal Competence






Means, Standard Deviations and Analysis of Covariance Comparing the Experimental and Control Groups on Openness of Communication . . . Means, Standard Deviations and Analysis of Covariance Comparing the Experimental and Control Groups on Need Satisfaction





CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Millions of young people choose to spend a substantial part of their lives enrolled in the colleges and universities of this country. During 'this time the campus becomes almost

a self-contained cultural environment which has a significant impact upon students (Feldman & Newcomb, 196 9; Sanford, 19 62; Yamamoto, 1968). As higher education continues to become

more humanistic, an upsurge of concern for the total development of students within their environment has recently prompted a more in-depth examination of student needs (Tollefson, 1975). One consistent finding which has been

reported is the need for meaningful friendships (Carney & Barak, 1976; Lokitz & Sprandel, 1976). Students appear to

become involved in friendships in order to meet a variety of important affiliative and therapeutic needs (Lokitz & Sprandel, 1976). Literature also indicates, however, that

these needs often go unmet because students lack the skills to maintain friendships in mutually satisfying ways or to provide therapeutic support for each other (Cope & Hannah, 1975; Vitalo, 1974). In an effort to alleviate this dis-

crepancy, it would seem desirable to intervene so as to increase the likelihood that students would become involved with each other more meaningfully. Theoretically, this

could possibly occur by increasing students' levels of interpersonal competence, that is, the frequency with which they are able to achieve their interpersonal goals (Huston, Avery, & Ridley, Note 1 ) . Few efforts have been made to create an awareness of the need for this type intervention. Some educators involved

in higher education have started to promote the development of programs designed to enhance personal and interpersonal growth (Cross, 1976a). Educators are beginning to recognize

the responsibility of colleges to create experiences which increase interpersonal as well as academic competence (Chickering, 1969). One such experience involves interper-

sonal skills training and some attempts have been made to implement these programs on a small scale (Arbes & Hubbell, 1973; Archer & Kagan, 1973; Clack, Conyne, & Strand, 1975; White & Berger, 1976). These programs, however, have often

been remedial in nature, have only been available to small numbers of students, and have seldom been offered as part of the college curriculum. This investigator supports an extension of this type interpersonal skills training in an effort to increase students' levels of interpersonal competence. Such an endeavor

proceeds beyond previous attempts by offering the program to large groups of students as part of the ongoing curriculum utilizing an educational as opposed to a remedial approach.

It is predicted that positive changes in perceived interpersonal competence will result in both intrapersonal and interpersonal growth. Seemingly, increased levels of inter-

personal competence would serve to enhance students' selfperceptions as they become better equipped to maximize their relationships with others. Greater awareness of interper-

sonal goals and elevated skill performance would hopefully lead to more openness in students' communication with friends. It seems logical to conclude that students would experience more need satisfaction within these relationships as they become more adept at achieving interpersonal goals. Thus,

the primary purpose of this study was to assess some effects of interpersonal skills training on the level of college students' perceived interpersonal competence. More specif-

ically, the study compared changes in the interpersonal competence scores of a randomly selected group of first semester freshmen enrolled in an interpersonal skills course at a large southwestern university with those of a comparable group of freshmen enrolled in freshman English. In addition,

the study compared the two groups in terms of changes in communication patterns and need satisfaction within existing friendships. Further consideration of the variables dis-

cussed in this study will serve to clarify the rationale for the interpersonal skills training of college students.

Affiliative Needs of College Students Students attending college seem to have a special need for meaningful friendship networks for a variety of reasons. Appel, Berry, and Hoffman (1973) asked 831 seniors graduating from a large university to identify significant sources of influence during college which had lasting impact on their lives in general. Listed most often as a significant source

of influence were those with whom students were involved interpersonally. All responses were then categorized into Of seven pos-

negative and positive sources of influence.

sible sources of positive influences, peers were most often listed. Lokitz and Sprandel (1976) gathered data from a group of incoming freshmen during their first year at college. Each student was interviewed once a semester during that period. An attitude scale designed to determine the general

satisfaction of students was administered three times within the year. Finally, students were given a questionnaire one

week before second semester exams which asked for additional information on areas covered by the attitude scale as well as students' general reactions to their first year. One of

the major conclusions drawn by the authors on the basis of the results from all three measures was that students' concern over social relationships increased during the second semester and became more important than academics. Kramer,

Berger, and Miller (1974) have also reported on the concerns of college students and found that issues which involved vocational and personal identity were listed m.ore frequently than academic concerns. Some qualities of college friendships were examined by Peters and Kennedy (1970) using samples from two major universities. Partially structured interview schedules and

questionnaires were used to obtain extensive data about subjects' friendships with others. On the basis of the

results, the investigators concluded that college was an important environment for making friends and that these relationships seemed to provide a sense of stability and identity. The literature is replete with examples of the impact of relationships on college students (Chickering, 1969; Feldman & Newcomb, 19 69; Freedman, 19 67; Katz, 196 8; Lenning, Munday, Johnson, Well, & Brue, 1974; Sanford, 1962). As a

result of extensive research on the maturing process of college students. Heath (1968) remarked that the "quality of the personal relationships the students have with one another is probably the most important determinant of the largest number of enduring maturing effects that a college has" (p. 259). Research has been conducted to determine the influence of friends on academic achievement and persistence in college

Bauer (1967) collected data from various organizations, housing units, and student cliques at a large state university in an attempt to relate social experiences to academic development. The results from interviews, autobiographies,

participant-observer reports, and university files and publications seemed to indicate that meaningful interpersonal involvement among college students and between students and faculty had a positive effect on academic performance. Through a variety of measures MacKay (1965) determined an "integration level," the manner in which a person perceives his relationships to others, for a large group of university juniors. A significant correlation was found between mature A

interpersonal relationships and college persistence.

large group of freshmen women completed a questionnaire to determine the quantity and quality of their friendships (Yourglich, 1966). The investigator concluded that meaning-

ful interaction among friends improved students' likelihood of staying satisfied on campus and remaining at college. Therapeutic Needs of College Students The literature indicates that college students tend to seek out friends to supply some therapeutic as well as more general social needs. Bailey, Finney, and Helm (1975) in-

vestigated various predictors of interpersonal attraction among college students and found that self-concept support was a more accurate predictor and reliable correlate of

friendship attraction than was perceived trait similarity. This tendency appeared more true of longer than shorter duration relationships. that the attainment of good interpersonal relationships is a key factor in determining one's socialpsychological adjustment and self-concept. These factors in turn are related to good academic and social adjustment in the school setting. (p. 103) This contention is supported by Schofield (1964) who asserts that friendships do affect the psychological well-being of individuals. Although academic achievement previously has been related to general satisfaction with relationships, Shapiro and Voog (1969) investigated the effects of roommate helping behavior on grades. Students identified as possessing theraHatch and Guerney (1975) contend

peutic qualities were assigned as roommates to students displaying low and high levels of academic ability. These

roommates' therapeutic qualities appeared to be predictive of higher GPA's for those students living with them. Sheffield

and Meskill (1974), in fact, encourage the involvement of peers possessing empathic qualities in counseling programs designed to lower college attrition. College students appear to serve as potential helpers for each other in other ways. Investigators have found that

students choose friends most often as sources of help with personal issues (Armstrong, 1969; Kramer et al., 1974).

8 Carney and Barak (1976)report that seniors who have coped with normal university stresses have utilized mostly personal and interpersonal resources to do so as opposed to professional help. They encourage student personnel workers

to assist college students in cultivating self-help and peer group support systems. Consideration of these factors leads to the conclusion that college students do indeed have significant needs for meaningful friendships for many reasons. The extent to which

these needs are met seems to have an impact of the various psychological, social, and academic aspects of students' lives. Evidence indicates, however, that many students are

experiencing deprivation in regard to optimum need fulfillment within their relationships. This realization has led

to an increased concern about students' inabilities to interact in mutually satisfying ways. Lack of Satisfying Friendships Although relationships have consistently proven to be important in many areas of students' lives, the literature indicates persisting deficiencies in students' abilities to relate in satisfying ways and, interestingly, there have been very few actual attempts to remedy this. Difficulties

with interpersonal relationships were among the 10 major presenting problems recently reported to one university psychological clinic (Horenstien, 1976). Cope and Hannah

(1975) analyzed responses from a sample of students leaving a large university and concluded that pressures from academic concerns were unrelated to students' reports of psychological stress. Instead, emotional upset was most often the result

of social concerns including "disappointments about friendships, meeting students with different standards, and not being accepted by the social group" (p. 27). Regardless of the tendency to rely on peers for assistance with personal concerns, research indicates most students are not equipped to adequately provide it. Reisman

and Yamokski (1974) taped sessions of college students and their friends discussing personal problems. Data collected

after the sessions indicated that students classified only 3% of their friends' responses as empathic. In discussing

the unmet needs of college students, Vitalo (1974) proposes that untrained students do not have the communicative abilities to help themselves or each other in times of crisis. He goes on to say: The inability of students to function effectively as social agents for their fellow students and as helpers for themselves in times of need creates a human environment typified by lack of meaningful involvement in which (a) relationships are maintained at superficial levels, (b) difficulties emerge between individuals and between groups that are neither necessary nor resolvable, (c) the tendency is to avoid or put dov/n the feelings and needs of others rather than confront and meet them, and (d) the inability to deal with one's own personal problems leaves the individual vulnerable to uoset and disorder, (D. 34)

10 In summary, research indicates that although college students seek involvement in meaningful friendships to meet a variety of needs, this does not occur often or consistently enough to provide adequate need satisfaction or to maximize the potential growth within these relationships. V7ith this

in mind, an interventive approach to the problem would need to incorporate some strategy to upgrade students' abilities to more competently achieve interpersonal satisfaction. The

concept of interpersonal competence appears to provide some direction for planning strategies appropriate to this problem, Interpersonal Competence as a Strategic Approach The concept of interpersonal competence has attracted recent attention as a significant area of study. Previous

efforts have concentrated on developing theoretical frameworks explaining competence with fev/ attempts to empirically test these theories. As the ramifications of interpersonal

competence (Bochner & Kelly, 1974) as v/ell as incompetence (Kuypers & Bengston, 1973) are better understood, increased support is emerging for continued study to determine the components of competence, its developmental antecedents, and consequential outcomes. This study concentrated on the

effects of an educational method as an attempt to increase levels of inerpersonal competence. A brief description of

existing theories of interpersonal competence follows to

11 provide a conceptual understanding of this study. Particular

attention will be given to the recent cognitive-behavioral model of interpersonal competence (Huston et al.. Note 1) because of its applicability to the present study. Interpersonal competence has been defined differently depending on the time period, conceptual framework, and particular discipline from which one is interested in its explication. Historically, Foote and Cottrell (1955) appear

to be among the first to conceptualize the phrase "interpersonal competence." Their definition has as its core the

idea of a graduated ability level to perform interpersonal tasks. White (1959) defines interpersonal competence as an

organism's capacity to effectively interact with its environment. Argyris (1968) and Gladwin (1967) stress the coping

and adaptive capability of an individual as the basis for competence. From a sociological perspective, Inkeles (1966)

views successful role performance as the end point of competence development. One's ability to utilize effective social

techniques provides the foundation for competence according to Argyle (1967) as opposed to Smith's (1968) emphasis on personal feelings of mastery and control. The ability to

establish meaningful relationships (Fitts, 1970), accomplish interpersonal tasks (Weinstein, 1969) , and achieve interpersonal goals (Huston et al.. Note 1) comprise more recent definitions.

12 Few researchers have proceeded beyond merely defining interpersonal competence to further delineating its components. Foote and Cottrell (1955) have described the eleir^ents

of their competence model as health, intelligence, empathy, autonomy, judgement, and creativity. From, a behavioral

standpoint 7\rgyle (1967) considers perceptual sensitivity, interaction skills, rewardingness, and poise as m.ore descriptive of the competent person. Fitts (1970) has conceptual-

ized his ideas into a wheel theory which highlights the interpersonal self, involvement, responsibility, freedom, empathic understanding, openness, caring acceptance, consistency, faith, and trust. VJeinstein (1969) utilizes a

developmental approach which emphasizes role-taking ability, development of many and varied lines of action, and the maximization of intrapersonal resources. The cognitive-behavioral model (Huston et al., Note 1) provides the most complete operational description of competence to date and one which is particularly pertinent to this study. These authors define the competent person as one

who achieves his/her interpersonal goals consistently while interacting in a variety of social situations. This indi-

vidual can be contrasted to an interpersonally effective person v7ho obtains his/her interpersonal goals in som^e situations with some people. Increasing one's competence through

skills training is viewed as an attempt to assist the

13 individual to become more adept at achieving interpersonal goals. Further description of the model will help clarify The interpersonally competent person in the

this process.

cognitive-behavioral perspective is considered to have a combination of the following characteristics: (a) the possession of culturally desirable attributes, (b) an active orientation toward identifying target persons and situations in terms of their promise for goal attainment, (c) the ability to execute a wide range of lines of social actions, and (d) the capability of successfully predicting the consequences of potential lines of action. (p. 12) The cognitive-behavioral model proves especially valuable in that it operationally defines the components of competence. Specification of the various behavioral compo-

nents of interpersonal competence allows these components to be taught as skills. This, in turn, makes measurement and

evaluation of skill performance possible and thus encourages the inclusion of a research component in intervention programs. In this study, the interpersonal skills training

program was designed on the basis of this model utilizing a competence perspective. Having established the need for interpersonal skills training and a theoretical understanding of the components of competence, it becomes necessary to ascertain the extent to which educational resources can provide for such training within the college context.

14 Theoretical Support for Interpersonal Skills Training The outlook for increasing interpersonal competence through structured skills training as a part of the college curriculum is promising in light of current educational resources. There are two important reasons for this. First,

progressive educators are encouraging a shift toward emphasis on total student development which includes personal and interpersonal growth. Second, structured skills training pro-

grams have recently been utilized with significant results and appear to be extremely applicable within the traditional college context. These two trends will be discussed in more

detail to provide an understanding of the current educational environment as it is relevant to this study. The concept of fostering total student development is gaining increasing acceptance among educators and student personnel workers (Tollefson, 1975). In discussing the im-

portance of human development Crookston (1975) points out: Human development focuses not on subject-matter requirements and syllabi but on the student and his world. Human development is taught not by fitting the student into a cultural heritage but by teaching students the process of discovering what is known and of applying that knowledge to a deeper understanding of self, to enhancement of the quality of relationships with others, and to coping effectively with their world. (pp. 368-369) This quest for educational relevance and for curricula which meet a greater number of students' needs is becoming the

15 impetus for innovative programs in higher education (Sandeen, 1976). Chickering (1969) has recently developed a model with seven vectors of student development which include: (a)

achieving competence, (b) managing emotions, (c) becoming autonomous, (d) establishing identity, (e) freeing interpersonal relationships, (f) developing purpose, and (g) developing integrity. He discusses competence and stresses

the importance of intellectual, physical, and interpersonal competencies. He continues by emphasizing the responsibility

of colleges to provide experiences in and out of the classroom conducive to the development of competencies in all three areas. Chickering dichotomizes the freeing of inter"(1) increased

personal relationships into two aspects:

tolerance and respect for those of different backgrounds, habits, values, and appearance, and (2) a shift in the quality of relationships with intimates and close friends" (p. 94). It would seem that growth in these two areas would

be facilitated by training in interpersonal skills. In two recent publications Cross (1976a; 1976b) asserts that colleges and universities must attend to the total needs of students in an effort to facilitate a successful college experience. She proposes:

It is time for educational institutions to get involved with society's needs for educating people to work with people, and with the individual's need

16 to learn to live and work more effectively in our increasingly interdependent society. And I suggest that it is time for the student personnel profession to take some leadership in developing the curriculum for personal and interpersonal education. (1976b, p. 156) She continues to address this issue elsewhere (1976a) by promoting educational methods in personal development and interpersonal skills training. In the area of student per-

sonnel services, Morgan (1974) encourages a progressive look toward the future counseling needs of students by suggesting that students should experience growth in the affective domain and become more skilled in interpersonal functioning. Such support from those involved in providing direction in higher education increases the possibility of offering interpersonal skills training at the college level. This

possibility has become a reality in some situations where skills training programs have been utilized. Some of these

efforts and their effects are summarized below. Previous Skills Training Programs Several studies have been conducted which involved

some type of interpersonal, human relations, or communication skills training with college students that resulted in significant changes on a variety of measures. A sample of

such programs of both a remedial as well as educational nature will be scoped. Arbes and Hubbell (1973) conducted a study with 30

17 university students seeking help at a university counseling center. After reporting interpersonal emotional problems

they were referred to the communication skills workshop under study. Students were randomly assigned to two experiThe experimental group met

mental and one control groups.

in 2-hour sessions for seven weeks and in one 7 1/2-hour session. Pretesting and posttesting were done on all groups.

The experimental groups showed significant changes on several measures. A significant change on the expressed affection

scale of the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations OrientationBehavior (Schutz, 1967) was reported which implied an "increased recognition of the need to establish and maintain satisfactory relationships with others in respect to love and affection" (p. 336). Social anxiety was significantly reduced as measured by the Concept Specific Anxiety Scale (Cole & Oetting, Note 2). Significantly positive changes were also reported on the Interpersonal Relationship Rating Scale (Hippie, 1972). In a study by White and Berger (1976), 20 students identified as socially incompetent were referred from a university mental health clinic for participation in a skills training program designed to help students establish and maintain relationships with others. The students were

divided into two experimental groups and one control group in the order they entered the clinic. Training consisted

18 of eight weekly two-hour group sessions using social-learning theory and behavior-rehearsal techniques. The control group

read articles on social skills and assertiveness training and received the skills training at a later date. The experi-

mental group showed significant gains in social competence on several factors of the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (Cattell, 1972) both during posttesting and on the threemonth follow-up. Results also indicated that students com-

prising the experimental groups became more active in campus social activities and in establishing relationships. The

control group showed no significant gains on any measures. Archer and Kagan (1973) involved 83 undergraduate volunteers in an interpersonal communication skills training program. The students were randomly assigned to eight treatEach treatment group used

ment and four control groups.

either an interpersonal-process-recall or an encounterdevelopmental training method. Both type treatment groups Results

met in three-hour sessions weekly for eight weeks.

on the posttest indicated significant improvement on interpersonal skills measures of empathy and self-actualization as well as peer ratings for the interpersonal-process-recall treatment group relative to the encounter and control groups. In a study by Clack et al. (1975), 17 university students volunteered to participate in an interpersonal skills training workshop. Sixteen volunteers, also university

19 students, were obtained to form the control group. The work-

shop utilized a laboratory-based human relations training and micro-counseling approach. Training consisted of two

two-hour sessions, one four-hour session, two additional twohour sessions, and a six-week reunion. Posttest and follow-

up results indicated significant positive changes for the experimental group on portions of the Interpersonal Skills scale (Clack & Conyne, Note 3) and the Fundamental Interpersonal Relationship Orientation-Behavior scale (Schutz, 1967) . Gormally, Hill, Gulanick, and McGovern (1975) investigated the persistence of communication skills training for graduate as well as undergraduate students. The under-

graduate treatment group consisted of 60 students enrolled in a special section of an undergraduate personality course while the graduate treatment group was composed of 21 students enrolled in a fundamentals of counseling course. Stu-

dents (N=46) enrolled in a regular undergraduate personality course were used as a control group. Pretest, posttest, and

six- to nine-month follow-up testing involved asking students to supply helpful responses to stimulus statements in written form and to a volunteer client in an interview situation. All students in the treatment groups received

40 hours of communications skills training over a 10-week period. Significant changes were found for both undergraduate

20 and graduate trainees at posttest and during follow-up testing. No significant gains were made by the undergraduate

control group. The results of these studies indicate that it is possible to increase students' abilities to more competently function within interpersonal relationships. The skills

training program used in the present study attempted to facilitate an increase in interpersonal competence by changing students' attitudes and behavioral skills. As students

learned new skills, the discrepancy between previous interaction patterns and those demonstrated during training would seem to become apparent enough to stimulate a reevaluation of personal interaction styles. During this reevaluation

process, students would hopefully become more adept behaviorally which would enhance social self-confidence and reinforce new attitudes. A more positive perception of personal

capabilities would in turn encourage the continued use of new interpersonal skills. The present study was designed to assess some effects of a skills training program unique in significant ways to previous programs. The skills training program used in this

study trained a larger group of students than were trained in most reported programs. A structured and replicable

format was used which included homework and behavioral practice. Emphasis was placed on an eduational rather than

21 a remedial approach in order to meet the needs of most students. Utilization of educational resources was maximized

by incorporating the program into the ongoing college curriculum. Hypotheses This study attempted to determine some effects of interpersonal skills training on the levels of perceived interpersonal competence of college freshmen. Furthermore, addi-

tional effects of interpersonal skills training on students' interaction patterns within important friendships were explored. Specifically, the following hypotheses were tested

in this study. College freshmen completing an interpersonal skills training course relative to freshmen in the control English course: (1) Would demonstrate a greater increase in interpersonal competence scores. (2) Would indicate a greater increase in their level of openness of communication with friends. (3) Would report a greater increase in their level of need satisfaction within existing friendships.

CHAPTER II METHOD Subjects The subjects in this study were first semester Arts and Sciences freshmen enrolled at a large southwestern university during fall, 197 6. The experimental group was composed of

13 males and 16 females (N=29) with an average age of 18 years. The students were recruited as follows. One hundred

and twenty students were randomly selected from all Arts and Sciences freshmen. These students received a letter during

freshmen summer orientation notifying them of the opportunity to enroll in a special research section of Basic Interpersonal Skills, a three-hour elective family relations course (see Appendix A ) . During each of six general orientation

sessions for all Arts and Sciences freshmen the letter and course were explained further in a brief verbal presentation by the chairman of the Child Development-Family Relations Department. All interested students who had received the

letter then met in a small group to ask questions and receive instructions on registering for the course. Of the 120 ran-

domly selected students, 32 registered for the course in the summer, 29 actually completed fall enrollment, and 29 completed the course. The control group was composed of 9 males and 14 females


23 (N=23) with an average age of 18 years who were enrolled in a section of the three-hour freshman English course. The

section was randomly selected from 146 available freshman English classes and was closed to all but freshmen Arts and Sciences majors. The first 25 students to register for this Of that number, 24 One

section comprised the control group.

completed fall enrollment and 24 completed the course.

student was subsequently enrolled in both the English and interpersonal skills training course and was therefore dropped from both samples, leaving a total control group of 23 students. Measures Since the purpose of the present study was to determine some effects of interpersonal skills training on the students' level of interpersonal competence as well as changes in communication patterns and need satisfaction within existing friendships, the dependent variables in this study were: (a) social self-esteem as measured by the Texas Social Behavior Inventory (Helmreich, Stapp, & Ervin, 1974), (b) interpersonal competence as measured by the Interpersonal Competency Scale (Holland & Baird, 1968), and (c) openness of coromunication and need satisfaction within friendships as indicated by students relative to their present relationships (see Appendix B ) .

24 Texas Social Behavior Inventory (TSBI). The TSBI

(Helmreich et al., 1974) is a 32-item measure of social competence or social self-esteem. Items are structured as

declarative statements and have five response choices ranging from "not at all characteristic of me" to "very much characteristic of me." Normative data reported by Helmreich et al.

(1974) were obtained from a sample of 235 male and 271 female college students. Mean scores were 81.54 for males and

83.24 for females with a test-retest reliability of .94 and .93, respectively. Validity was judged acceptable from a

comparison of the TSBI with other measures of ability, attitude, and personality. Interpersonal Competency Scale (IC). The IC (Holland & Baird, 1968) is a 20-statement true/false measure developed to a great extent from Foote and Cottrell's (1955) definition and discussion of interpersonal competence. Normative data

were obtained by Abe, Holland, Lutz, and Richards (Note 4 ) . Mean scores for 6,219 male and 6,148 female college freshmen were 11.16 and 11.56, respectively. Test-retest reliability Validity

for the same sample was .69 and .67, respectively.

was judged acceptable from a comparison of the IC with other measures related to interpersonal competence (Holland & Baird, 1968). Openness of communication and need satisfaction within

25 friendships. Students were asked to rank order up to 10

friends excluding relatives in the order of importance of the relationship. In regard to each friendship, students

were asked to rate the openness of communication within that relationship on the basis of a five-choice response. The

responses ranged from "almost always openly and directly communicate to this person my ongoing feelings about myself, him or her, or our relationship" to "rarely or never openly and directly communicate." Students were also asked to rate

the extent of need satisfaction within these same relationships. The responses ranged from "satisfies no important

needs" to "satisfies almost all or all of my important needs" (see Appendix B ) . Procedure Design. A pretest-posttest control group design was Dur-

used to determine the effects of the training program.

ing the first week of class, the TSBI, IC, and relationship rating scales were administered during class to both the experimental and control groups. All measures were also

administered in class during the last week of the semester. Training program. The interpersonal skills course met

in 1 1/2 hour sessions twice weekly during the 15-week semester. Class was held in a regular university classroom

26 and was taught by a professor with prior experience teaching the course. All classroom experiences were designed to in-

crease interpersonal competence through creating awareness of self and others, increasing knowledge, and developing behavioral skills. This was accomplished by utilizing a com-

bination of lecture-discussion in class, reading material, supervised skill rehearsal, and homework assignments. The content areas presented in the course (see Appendix C) were relevant to both the intrapersonal and interpersonal aspects of competence. Early in the course, material

encouraging self-assessment was introduced and discussed which focused on assessing interpersonal needs and locating barriers to need satisfaction. Significant time was spent ana-

lyzing self-concept formation and its impact on personal relationships. Students were made more aware of the verbal

and nonverbal cues which comprise their own and others' selfpresentation styles. Although much of the introductory material was designed to promote self-exploration, discussion of the concepts was continually focused on their application to the students' interpersonal functioning. Attempts were made to upgrade

students' interpersonal competencies by developing their abilities to own their feelings, give concise feedback, and respond more empathically. Social learning theory was

described and illustrated to help students understand how

27 they might effectively change others' behavior. Skills

related to constructive problem-solving were presented and demonstrated. The instructor discussed guidelines on the

process of initiating as well as terminating relationships. Personal application of the concepts discussed in class was promoted by the use of structured homework assignments. The students were assigned tasks which either encouraged self-assessment, skill development, or involvement with another person with the intent of reinforcing class content. The required texts (see Appendix C) contained infoi^nation pertinent to both the cognitive and affective components of competence and were oriented toward a theoretical understanding of competence as well as methods of application. Specific time periods were set aside weekly for skills training. modeled. The particular skill was defined, discussed, and Students then practiced the skill under study Supervision and feed-

either in small groups or in dyads.

back were given to students by the instructor or a student assistant who had prior experience in the course. Three exams were given during the course requiring students to be able to recall information as well as apply principles to hypothetical situations.. Final grades for the

course were based on exam scores, homework assignments, skills demonstrated in class, and class participation. course description and syllabus distributed in class are replicated in Appendix C. The

28 Control group treatment. The control group met in

one-hour sessions three times weekly during the 15-week semester in the required freshmen English class. Class was The

conducted using mostly a lecture-discussion method.

students met in small groups weekly to critique each other's essays. Composition of these groups changed regularly.

Homework assignments included essay writing, grammer exercises, and reading. The students received extensive written

feedback on assignments,and almost half the class was given individual help by the instructor. was given. No additional treatment

CHAPTER III RESULTS Preliminary Analyses Various background data were collected on both the experimental and control groups at pretest. When asked

to rate their relationship with their parents from "very close" to "not at all close," 65.52% of the experimental group and 60.87% of the control group indicated that they were "very close" to their parents. Students also rated Of

their relationships with siblings on the same scale.

the experimental group, 53.57% reported being "very close" to their siblings as opposed to 59.09% of the control group. The experimental group indicated that 41.37% of their fathers and 37.93% of their mothers had some type college degree. The control group reported 68.18% of their fathers When

and 28.82% of their mothers having college degrees.

asked about parental family income, the experimental group reported a mean range of $19,000-32,000 per year. The mean

range for the control group was $33,000-39,000 yearly. T tests were used to determine experimental and control group differences on these variables. There were significant

differences between the two groups on only the family income variable, t (50) = -2.717, p = .01. Pretest mean scores for the experimental and control 29

30 groups were analyzed to determine the comparability of the groups on the dependent variables. The pretest mean for

the experimental group on the Texas Social Behavior Inventory (TSBI) was 80.31 as opposed to the control group's mean of 85.96. The difference was not significant, t (50) = -1.188, Normative mean scores were reported by Helmreich

p = .241.

et al. (1974) as 81.54 for males and 83.24 for females. The pretest means for the experimental and control groups on the Interpersonal Competency Scale (IC) were 12.55 and 13.17, respectively. T tests indicated no significant

difference between the groups on the IC, t (50) = -.839, _ p = .406. Holland and Baird (1968) reported normative mean

scores as 11.16 for males and 11.56 for females. On the Openness of Communication Scale the experimental group had a pretest mean of 3.72 and the control group had a mean of 3.68. T tests resulted in no significant differ-

ences between the groups on this scale, ; (50) = -.170, t p > .50. The experimental group had a pretest mean score of 3.07 on the Need Satisfaction Scale in contrast to the control group's mean of 3.16. Again, no significant difference

was found between the groups on this variable, t (50) = -.593, p > .50. On the basis of this analysis, it was concluded that no significant differences existed between the groups on the

31 pretest mean scores of any of the measures. The groups were

thus assumed to be similar on the dependent variables used in this study at the time of pretest. Because of differences

on the family income variable and lack of random assignment to groups, however, analysis of covariance was selected as the statistical treatment for use on these data. Main Analyses To determine the effects of treatment, sex, and treatment by sex interaction, a two-way analysis of covariance was performed using the pretest mean scores of each dependent variable as the covariate for that variable. In hypothesis 1

it was predicted that college freshmen completing an interpersonal skills training course relative to freshmen in an English course would have significantly higher interpersonal competence scores. Results of an analysis of covariance

(see Table 1) indicated no significant differences between the groups due to treatment, sex, or treatment by sex interaction on the Texas Social Behavior Inventory. An analysis

of covariance (see Table 2) on mean scores of the Interpersonal Competency Scale also failed to produce significant differences between the groups due to treatment, sex, or treatment by sex interaction. the hypothesis. Hypothesis 2 predicted a greater increase in openness of communication with friends for the experimental group The results failed to support

32 receiving interpersonal skills training relative to the control group. Analysis of covariance (see Table 3) on

mean scores on the Openness of Communication Scale resulted in no significant differences beteeen the groups due to treatment, sex, or treatment by sex interaction. hypothesis, therefore, was not supported. Finally, in the present study it was hypothesized that following treatment the experimental group would have significantly higher scores on a measure of need satisfaction within existing friendships than the control group. As shown in Table 4, results of an analysis of This

covariance on the mean scores indicated no significant difference between groups due to treatment, sex, or treatment by sex interaction on the Need Satisfaction Scale. This hypothesis was therefore rejected.



Texas Social Behavior Inventory Mean SD

Experimental Pre Post 80.31 16.67 86.86 14.08

Control Pre Post 85.96 16.71 89.35 16.20

Source of Variance Treatment Sex Treatment X Sex Error

MS 53.506 11.537 .345 55.406

df 1 1 1 47 .966 n.s. .208 n.s. .006 n.s.



Interpersonal Competency Scale Mean SD

Experimental Pre Post 12.55 2.34 13.76 2.18

Control Pre Post 13.17 2.90 13.78 2.45

Source of Variance Treatment Sex Treatment X Sex Error


1 1 1

.594 .010 .258

n.s n.s n.s

.033 .816



Openness of Communication Scale Mean SD

Experimental Pre Post 3.72 .75 3.91 .50

Control Pre Post 3.68 .83 3.96 .41

Source of Variance Treatment Sex Treatment X Sex Error

MS 019 135 083 186

df 1 1 1 47 .101 n.s .723 n.s .446 n.s

NOTE: Scores on this measure range from l=rarely or never openly communicate to 5=always openly communicate.



Need Satisfaction Scale Mean SD

Experimental Pre Post 3.07 .55 3.43 .54

Control Pre Post 3.16 .50 3.40 .50

Source of Variance Treatment Sex Treatment X Sex Error

MS 164 482 274 202

df 1 1 1 47 .813 n.s 2.389 n.s 1.358 n.s

NOTE: Scores on this measure range from l=satisfies no important needs to 5=satisfies almost all or all my important needs.

CHAPTER IV DISCUSSION The purpose of the present study was to assess some effects of interpersonal skills training on the perceived interpersonal competence, openness of communication, and need satisfaction of college freshmen. The results failed

to support the hypothesis that freshmen completing an interpersonal skills training course relative to freshmen enrolled in an English course would demonstrate a greater increase in interpersonal competence scores. Furthermore, the results

failed to support the hypotheses that these same students would indicate a greater increase in openness of communication or need satisfaction within existing friendships. Although the results of this study did not support the proposed hypotheses, the possible effectiveness of providing skills training to enhance interpersonal competence and social interaction should not be disregarded. As indicated

by the results (see Table 1 ) , the experimental group showed greater absolute increases on all but one measure used, although not to the point of significance. In view of this

trend, additional consideration of various sample, measurement, and treatment factors which possibly affected the outcome of this study will be discussed.


38 The Sample The selection procedure and composition of the sample in this study may have had an impact on the results. Even

though the students who were invited to enroll in the skills training course were randomly selected from among all first semester freshmen, a self-selection factor may have been involved because those who ultimately enrolled individually chose to do so. Perhaps these students enrolled because of

feelings of deficiency in regard to interpersonal competence. The data from the pretest provided some support for this possibility. On the Texas Social Behavior Inventory, the

experimental group had a pretest mean score of 80.31 with a range of 45 - 106. The control group had a pretest mean Normative data

score of 86.86 with a range of 59 - 114.

for this measure were reported as mean scores of 81.54 for males and 83.24 for females (Helmreich et al., 1974). Of

the experimental group, 13.8% scored lower than the lowest score of the control group. Likewise, 17.4% of the control

group scored higher than the highest score of the experimental group. It appears that the experimental group began the

skills training program with at least a slightly lower sense of social competence than the control group. If this were

the case, an experimental group with lower social selfesteem than a more typical group would perhaps respond to treatment more slowly. The training program in this instance

would be of a more remedial than preventative nature.

39 Descriptive data collected on each group provides some evidence that the control group appeared to be more interpersonally involved than the experimental group. For

example, when asked about their present interpersonal situation, 30.43% of the control group indicated at pretest that they had a large number of friends and many acquaintances. These figures can be contrasted to only 24.14% of

the experimental group at pretest who indicated having a large number of friends and many acquaintances. In regard

to their present dating situation, 4.35% of the control group reported at pretest that they were not dating as opposed to 17.24% of the experimental group. When asked to

list important friendships, 60.87% of the control group at pretest listed the maximum number (10) of relationships requested. Of the experimental group, only 34.48% listed In general then, the control group seemed

10 friendships.

to have larger social networks of both acquaintances and friends and also reported dating more. One conclusion of

these findings might be that the control relative to experimental group students had higher levels of social selfesteem and thus were more actively involved in interpersonal relationships, decreasing the comparability of the two groups at pretest on several important variables. The significant difference between the groups on family income also may have had a bearing on the extent of social

40 involvement. Coming from a higher income bracket, the

control group might have experienced more social exposure and interaction. An exposure to a wider range of persons

and situations could possibly make one prone to feeling comfortable or competent in a variety of situations. This

feeling may have had an impact on the control group's somewhat higher pretest scores on measures of interpersonal competence. The conditions under which the control group met also may have affected the outcome of this study. Although these

students received no planned interpersonal skills training, they did meet in small groups on a weekly basis. This small

group format, fairly atypical of freshmen courses, provided opportunity for interpersonal interaction. These students

also received extensive written feedback from the instructor on written homework assignments, and almost half of them were helped by the instructor on an individual basis. The composition of the sample also may have affected the outcome of this study in that the entire sample was composed of first semester freshmen. Placed in a totally

new social situation these students were likely, as the literature indicates, to be preoccupied with establishing new support systems. Because of the transitory and unstable

nature of these beginning friendships,it seems quite possible that the skills training may not have generalized to

41 the extent it might within more stable and mature friendships. On the other hand, as reported by Lokitz and Sprandel

(1976), first semester freshmen tend to be preoccupied with academics. During the second semester of the freshmen year,

students increase their concern for social relationships. In view of this finding, interpersonal skills training might be more effective with a sample of second semester freshmen or upperclassmen v/ho are likely to have a greater interest in developing and maintaining friendships. The Measures The measures selected for this study may have affected the results in several ways. It is quite possible that these

measures are relatively insensitive to short-term treatment. Self-perception of interpersonal competence would appear to be slow to change after years of socialization. Changes in

a fairly stable personality characteristic such as social self-concept are difficult to detect and may not be reflected in the instruments used. Also, the scales developed to evalu-

ate students' openness of communication and level of need satisfaction in this study requested information about relationships which were probably fairly new. These ratings may

have been significantly higher for more long-term relationships . In responding on the pretest, there may have been a tendency for both groups to answer in socially desirable

42 ways. At posttest, however, the responses of the experi-

mental group could possibly have been affected by a variety of factors. Of potential relevance is that the experimental

group took the posttest after receiving extensive information about the components of interpersonal competence and viewing frequent demonstrations of behavioral skills. Alerted to the

discrepancy between their own levels of interpersonal competence and what was presented as optimal, it is possible that these students would rate themselves lower after becoming more aware of the characteristics of a truly competent individual. At posttest, students were also aware of their grade

for the course including all assignment except the final exam. class. Final grades of A or B were given to 51.72% of the Some students receiving lower grades may have rated This

themselves lower on the research measures as a result.

tendency to respond more realistically might have been further reinforced if the students had established significant rapport with the instructor so as to feel free to respond in honest ways. At posttest, then, the experimental group had skills training information, a grade from the interpersonal skills course, and possibly some motivation to be more honest and realistic in their answers on the posttest measures. Lacking

this exposure and feedback, the control group may have responded similarly at both pretesting and posttesting.

43 The Treatment It seems logical that the results of this study were influenced by the training program. The treatment, however,

may not have been potent enough to cause change as quickly or as extensively as was hypothesized. On the other hand,

perhaps a longer time period was needed for students to integrate the skills training into their interaction style. change attitudes and behaviors, students need time to dehabituate old patterns as well as learn new ways of thinking and responding. If the training program was somewhat remedial To

in nature for the experimental group, or if the control group was slightly accelerated, pretest to posttest improvement might not be as significant as with more normative groups. Implications Empirical implications. Before final conclusions are

drawn relative to the effects of interpersonal skills training on the variables under study, a replication of the present study is warranted. Sampling procedures using random

assignment of students to control and experimental groups as well as larger total samples would strengthen the nature of the findings. Longitudinal research is needed to deter-

mine the residual and long-term effects of skills training. Additional descriptive data on the developmental changes of freshmen and the nature of their relationships during the first year of college would aid in designing a more relevant

44 training program. The use of upperclassmen with more intact

social networks characterized by more mature and stable relationships might result in more significant findings. any rate, the possibility of the existence of a "developAt

mental readiness" for training in interpersonal skills should also be explored. Of critical importance to the generation of conclusive research in this area is the need for reliable and valid measures which more directly get at the components of interpersonal competence. Not only do better self-report instru-

ments need to be developed, but adequate behavioral and unobtrusive measures should be designed. Theoretical implications. Additional research is needed

to determine v/hether this type intervention program provides support for the cognitive-behavioral model of interpersonal competence. The results of the present study, however,

generate some interesting questions relative to this theory. The impact of increased awareness, for example, should be examined in light of its likely effect on the process of skill acquisition. In order to make this determination, the

cognitive and behavioral components of interpersonal competence need to be more specifically defined in operational terms. It will be important to identify whether cognitive

restructuring and skill acquisition should occur sequentially or simultaneously. A further refinement of the difference

45 between interpersonal competence and effectiveness may be possible if skills training is found to be situationally effective. If the cognitive-behavioral model proves to be a useful description of interpersonal competence, future intervention programs and measurement techniques should be designed, taking its components into consideration. Additional re-

search will be needed to determine the usefulness of this model in future intervention programs. Applied implications. The applied implications of this

study are particularly relevant to the designing of interpersonal skills training programs. In light of the present

findings, future attempts at interpersonal skills training should utilize a more potent treatment to promote greater change. Perhaps even more behavioral practice with videoIncreased

taped individual feedback could be incorporated.

use of small group interaction with guidance from trained facilitators might tend to personalize the learning to an even greater degree. Additional techniques need to be devel-

oped which would more effectively generalize classroom learning to the students' interpersonal relationships. The train-

ing should be flexible enough to cater to the special needs of each audience. Freshmen, for example, might need more

assistance with initiating relationships while upperclassmen would be interested in communication skills within more

46 intimate relationships. Consideration might be given to

offering the course on a pass/fail basis to eliminate the possibility of feeling pressure to perform which could inhibit more meaningful learning. A course grade might

potentially give a person inaccurate feedback relative to their actual level of interpersonal competence which would in turn contribute to an unrealistic self-perception. pass/fail grading system could counter these effects. Given that the possibility still remains for designing interpersonal skills training programs which are effective in increasing interpersonal competence, the possible impact on the total college experience becomes intriguing. Such A

training could potentially help students form and maintain effective friendship networks. This stable social structure

might have a significant influence on general college satisfaction and retention. More detailed studies on a longitu-

dinal basis will help provide answers to these questions. In conclusion, the need for college students to become involved in meaningful interpersonal relationships remains unchanged. How this might best be achieved is being explored

by those interested in promoting the personal and interpersonal development of college students. The present study

examined the effectiveness of an interpersonal skills training course as one method of increasing interpersonal competence. Although no significant results were found in this

47 study, it comprises an initial effort to identify possible catalysts of attitude and behavior change. The study also

provided further insight into various methodological problems encountered in this type research. The alleviation of these

problematic issues, as well as the development of a more potent treatment, may prove interpersonal skills training an effective method of significantly improving interpersonal interaction among college students. Additional research is

needed before accurate conclusions can be made.

REFERENCE NOTES 1. Huston, T., Avery, A. A., & Ridley, C. Interpersonal competence: A cognitive-behavioral model. Unpublished Manuscript, Pennsylvania State University, 1976. Cole, C. W., & Oetting, E. R. Development of the content specific anxiety scale (Tech. Rep. No. 3). Fort Collins, Colo.: Colorado State University, 1968. Clack, R., & Conye, R. Interpersonal skills scale. Unpublished manuscript, Illinois State University, 1973.
A b e , C., Holland, J. L., Lutz, S. W., & Richards, J. M. A description of American college freshmen. ACT Research Report No. 1, Iowa City: American College Testing Program, 1965.




REFERENCES Appel, V. H. , Berry, M. C., & Hoffman, R. W. Significant collegiate sources of influence. Journal of College Student Personnel, 1973, 1£, 171-174. Arbes, B. H., & Hubbell, R. N. Packaged impact: A structured communication skills workshop. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1973, _4, 332-337. Archer, J., & Kagan, N. Teaching interpersonal relationship skills on campus: A pyramid approach. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1973, 2 0 , 535-540. _^ Argyle, M. The psychology of interpersonal behaviour. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1967. Argyris, C. Conditions for competence acquisition and therapy. Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences, 1968, 4^, 147-177. Armstrong, J. C. Perceived intimate friendship as a quasitherapeutic agent. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1969, 1J6, 137-141. Bailey, R. C., Finney, P., & Helm, B. Self-concept support and friendship duration. Journal of Social Psychology, 1975, 9^, 237-243. Bauer, E. J. Student peer groups and academic development. College Student Survey, 1967, J , 22-31. ^ Bochner, A. P., & Kelly, D. W. Interpersonal communication instruction—theory and practice: A symposium, I. Interpersonal competence: Rationale, philosophy, and implementation of a conceptual framework. The Speech Teacher, 1974, _22/ 279-303. Carney, C. G., & Barak, A. A survey of student needs and student personnel services. Journal of College Student Personnel, 1976, r?, 280-284. Cattell, R. B. The 16 P-F. Champaign, 111.: Institute for Personality and Ability Testing, 1972. Chickering, A. W. Education and identity. Jossey-Bass, 1969. San Francisco:


50 Clack, R. J., Conye, P. K., & Strand, K. H. Interpersonal skills workshop: A laboratory-based microcounseling experience. Journal of College Student Personnel, 1975, 16^, 149-153. Cope, R., & Hannah, W. Revolving college doors: The causes and consequences of dropping out, stopping out, and transferring. New York: Wiley & Sons, 1975. Crookston, B. B. Human development: Actualizing people in actualizing organizations. Journal of College Student Personnel, 1975, 16^, 36-8-375. Cross, K. P. Accent on learning. Bass, 1976a. San Francisco: Jossey-

Cross, K. P. A curriculum for personal and interpersonal development. Journal of the National Association of Women Deans, Administrators, and Counselors, 1976b, 3^, 154-162. Feldman, K. A., & Newcomb, T. M. The impact of college on students (Vol. 1 ) . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1969. Fitss, W. H. Interpersonal competence: The wheel model. Nashville: Counselor Recordings and Tests, 1970. Foote, N. N., & Cottrell, L. S. Identity and interpersonal competence. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955 Freedman, M. B. The college experience. Jossey-Bass, 1967. San Francisco:

Gladwin, T. Social competence and clinical practice. Psychiatry, 1967, 30^, 30-43. Gormally, J., Hill, C. E., Gulanick, N., & McGovern, T. The persistence of communication skills for undergraduate and graduate trainees. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1975, 21/ 369-372. Hatch, E. J., & Guerney, B. A pupil relationship enhancement program. Personnel and Guidance Journal, 1975, 54^, 103-105. Heath, D. H. Growing up in college. Bass, 1968. San Francisco: Jossey-

Helmreich, R., Stapp, J., & Ervin, E. The Texas social behavior inventory (TSBI): An objective measure of

51 self-esteem or social competence. Journal Supplement Abstract Service. Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 1974, j4, 79. Hippie, J. L. Interpersonal relationship rating scale. In J. W. Pfeiffer & J. E. Jones (Eds.), The 1972 annual handbook for group facilitators. Iowa City: University Associates Press, 1972. Holland, J. L., & Baird, L. L. An interpersonal competency scale. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 1968, 2^, 503-510. Horenstein, D. Presenting problems of students at a university psychological clinic. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1976, ^2./ 379-384. Inkeles, A. Social structure and the socialization of competence. Harvard Educational Review, 1966, 36, 265-283. Katz, J. (Ed.). No time for youth. Bass, 1968. San Francisco: Jossey-

Kramer, H. C., Berger, F., & Miller, G. Student concerns and sources of assistance. Journal of College Student Personnel, 1974, 15^, 389-393. Kuypers, J. A., & Bengtson, V. L. Social breakdown and competence. Human Development, 1973, 1 6 , 181-201. __ Lenning, O. T. , Munday, L. A., Johnson, 0. B., Well, A. V., & Brue, E. J. Nonintellective correlates of grades, persistence, and academic learning in college: The published literature through the decade of the sixties. Iowa City, Iowa: American College Testing Program, 1974. Lokitz, B. D., & Sprandel, H. Z. The first year: A look at the freshman experience. Journal of College Student Personnel, 1976, 17_, 274-279. MacKay, R. W. Interpersonal relationships, a factor in academic success. California Journal of Educational Research, 1965, li6, 189-196. Morgan, L. B. Counseling for future shock. Guidance Journal, 1974, _52^, 283-287. Personnel and

Peters, G. R., & Kennedy, C. E. Close friendships in the college community. Journal of College Student Personnel, 1970, 11, 449-456.

52 Reisman, J. M., & Yamokski, J. Psychotherapy and friendships: An analysis of the communication of friends. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1974, 21., 269-273. Sandeen, A. Undergraduate education: Conflict and change. Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath & Co., 1976. Sanford, N. (Ed.). & Sons, 1962. The American college. New York: Wiley

Schofield, W. Psychotherapy; The purchase of friendship. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1964. Schutz, W. C. FIRO scales. Palo Alto, Calif.: Psychologists Press, 1967. Consulting

Shapiro, J. G., & Voog, T. Effect of the inherently helpful person on student academic achievement. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1969, 1^, 505-509. Sheffield, W., & Meskill, V. P. What can colleges do about student attrition? College Student Journal, 1974, 8^, 37-45. Smith, M. B. Competence and socialization. In J. A. Clausen (Ed.), Socialization and society. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1968. Tollefson, A. L. New approaches to college student development. New York: Behavioral Publications, 1975. Vitalo, R. L. A course in life skills. Journal of College Student Personnel, 1974, 15^, 34-38. Weinstein, E. A. The development of interpersonal competence. In D. A. Goslin (Ed.), Handbook of socialization and research. Chicago: Rand McNally & Co., 1969. White, R. W. Motivation reconsidered: The concept of competence. Psychological Review, 1959, 6 6 , 297-333. _^ White, W. C., & Berger, F. Behavior rehearsal and social competence: A pilot study. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1976, 2^, 567-570. Yamamoto, K. (Ed.). The college student and his culture: An analysis. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1968. Yourlich, A. A. A four-phase study of homophyly, friendship, social participation, and college dropouts. Sociological Analysis, 1966, 27, 19-26.

APPENDIX A. B. C. Letter of Introduction to Basic Interpersonal Skills Openness of Communication and Need Satisfaction Scales Course Description and Syllabus: Skills Basic Interpersonal



Dear Student: Welcome to Texas Techl A special opportunity is being offered to a small number of Arts and Sciences freshmen who have been chosen to take a course called Basic Interpersonal Skills. Students who have taken this course in the past have been very enthusiastic--they found it relevant, enjoyable, and informative. These kinds of comments are typical: "I wish I'd had it sooner" and "It's been one of the most practical and useful courses I've had"I You and the other students have been selected at random for research purposes and NOT because of any personal or academic characteristics. The objectives of the course include helping the student learn about how and why people behave as they do, as well as to develop useful skills for forming new relationships and making existing ones more satisfactory. We feel if you decide to take this opportunity to enroll, it will be time well spent. In order to sign up for this course, you would enter FR 230005 on your blue course schedule. It meets TT, 10:30-12:00 a.m. in H-230. Dr. Carl Andersen will give you more information at the general orientation meeting of Arts and Sciences today at 10:30 a.m. The freshman year can be very challenging and rewarding. We hope yours is a good one! We look forward to seeing you in Basic Interpersonal Skills this fall. Thanks for your cooperation. Sincerely,

Debi Hegi Research Project Director


NEED SATISFACTION SCALES The following questions are designed to obtain some information about the interpersonal relationships you have with both sexes (friends, dating partners, etc.), other than relatives. Although we refer to these relationships as friendships, we mean dating partners, roommates, etc. On the following lines, write the first names of those individuals you consider to be your friends, beginning with the most important friendsh ip and ending with the least. Do not feel pressed to make a long list, but include no more than 10 names. On the lines beside every name, indicate the sex, the approximate age of each individual, the type relationship you have with this pers on, and approximately how far they live from Lubbock—eg., 0 miles, 210 miles, etc. See the example below. EXAMPLE: Approximate age 17 M 18 Type of relationship dating partner roommate Distance from Lubbock 45 miles 0 miles

First name Gail Martin



56 Next, write the names you listed on the previous page on the lines to the right of each rating scale on the page that follows in exactly the same order each time. Then, read each scale, and rate every friendship you have listed. Use one appropriate rating (a, b, c, d, or e) for each friendship on the line to the right of the person's name Use only one rating per person. After rating each relationship in terms of the first scale, move on to scale two.


Openness of communication: How free are you to discuss any kind of issue, no matter how sensitive or personal it might be? Consider your freedom to say this directly, rather than in an overly cautious or roundabout fashion--even if it may produce conflict. Also consider your freedom to express feelings in a variety of verbal and nonverbal ways.
Names Score

almost always openly and

usually openly and directly communicate

frequently openly and directly communicate

air ec L j y -communicate to this person my ongoing feelings about myself, him or her, or our relationship

occasionally openly and directly communicate

rarely or never openly and directly communicate

57 SCALE 2: Need satisfaction: Friendships provide a context in which we can satisfy needs for such things as security, tenderness, play, dependency, intimacy, achievement, etc. Friendships vary in terms of the range of interpersonal needs they can satisfy and the frequency and reliability of such need satisfaction. Describe each friendship in terms of the number of needs it satisfies.



satisfies no important needs

satisfies a few important needs

satisfies a fair number of important needs

satisfies a large number of important needs

satisfies almost all or all of my important needs


BASIC INTERPERSONAL SKILLS Texts: Johnson, D. W. Reaching Out. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1972. Patterson, G. Families. Urbana, 111.: Research Press, 1974. Derlega et al. Sharing Intimacy. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1975.

Course Title and Catalogue Description Basic Interpersonal Skills (3:3:0). The study and application of basic interpersonal skills as they relate to various age levels (e.g., children, adolescents, and adults) and social contexts (e.g., home, school, community, and business). Course Background and Goals Much of human behavior involves attempts to establish and maintain satisfactory relationships with others. Unfortunately, people do not function with equal success in their interpersonal encounters since building quality relationships usually requires considerable skill and motivation on the part of the individuals involved. This course focuses specifically on helping individuals better meet their interpersonal needs and goals by teaching them those skills necessary to function more effectively in interpersonal interactions. Material presented in the course comes from a broad behavioral science background and is designed to be interdisciplinary in nature. Students are expected to gain a strong knowledge base in the area of interpersonal behavior in addition to developing effective interpersonal skills.

Course Objectives Knowledge base. At the end of the course students should be able to: 1. 2. 3. identify behavior characteristic of interpersonally competent and interpersonally incompetent individuals, explain how social behavior is learned specify how they present themselves to others (i.e., selfpresentation style) and how others respond to them

59 describe the influence of roles and norms on social behavior explain how to change social behavior (in themselves and others) identify their interpersonal needs and goals (i.e., the things that would make them happier or more satisfied) as well as those barriers that inhibit their attainment Interpersonal skill development. At the end of the course students should be able to: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. recognize and understand the nonverbal and verbal communications of others express themselves clearly using appropriate nonverbal and verbal dues recognize interpersonal conflicts and problems and be able to negotiate them to a mutually satisfying solution recognize when decisions need to be made and employ effective decision initiate relationships with others develop mutual trust in relationships constructively terminate relationships

Evaluations I. Three exams will be given during the course at the times specified on the outline. Exams 1 and 2 are worth 30 points each and the final exam, which will be comprehensive, is worth 5 0 points, making the maximum number of points which can be earned through the exams 110. NOTE: All exams will be primarily objective (i.e., multiple choice and true-false) with the possibility of several short essay questions on each exam. All students must take all exams. There will be no make up exams. II. Attendance is an important part of the course since most of the interpersonal skill training will occur during these times. Consequently, students will earn 1 point for each class attended allowing a maximum of 30 points for the semester (students will be given credit for all classes during vacation periods). III. Students will be given outside assignments, usually to practice their interpersonal skills. These assignments will be given at the rate of approximately one per week and should be completed and returned the following week as specified by

60 the instructor. The student may earn from one to four points on each assignment. Criteria for the acceptability of particular assignments will be discussed when they are given. Assignments handed in late will not be given credit. With 10 assignments, the student can earn 40 points (10 assignments @ 4 points per assignment). IV. Each student will be evaluated by the instructor during the course of the semester for his/her level of class participation and involvement. The student can earn up to 2 0 points in the subjective evaluation. Summary The total maximum number of points which can be earned by any student is 200. At the end of the semester, the distribution of students' scores will be scaled and grades assigned on that basis.

61 FR 2 3 0 — I n t e r p e r s o n a l Course WEEK Syllabus—Fall, Skills 1976




Introduction I n t e r p e r s o n a l Competence Getting Acquainted
Self Assessment Interpersonal Needs Barriers to Need Achievement Socialization for Relationships Learning Social Behavior Self-Concept Self-Presentation Style Discovering Presentation Style Relationship Norms & Expectations Changing Social Behavior Self-Presentation Style Relationship Behavior

Johnson, ch. 1

Johnson, ch. 8


Patterson, chs. 1,2,3 Patterson, chs. 4,5,6,7



Patterson, chs. 8,10 Johnson, chs. 10,11


Relationship Behavior Exam Developing Sensitivity Nonverbal Communication Attending to Others Communicating Understanding Owning Feelings Feedback

A B 8 A B

Johnson, ch. 6 Johnson, ch. 4

Johnson, chs. 2,5 Class handout

A B 10 A B

Reflecting Feelings Reflecting Feelings

Johnson, ch. 7

Problem Solving Problem Solving

Johnson, chs. 9,12 Patterson, ch. 9 Johnson, ch. 13

62 V7EEK 11




Problem S o l v i n g Exam

12 A B 13 A B 14 1 A B

Interpersonal Attraction Initiating Relationships

Derlega, et al., chs. 1,2 Johnson, ch. 3

Developing Trust Enriching Relationships

Derlega, et al., chs• 3,4

Assessing Relationship Functioning Terminating Relationships

Derlega, et al., ch. 5 Derlega, et al., chs. 6,7,8

15 A B

Review Exam—Final