Problem‐solving skills training for psychiatric inpatients: An analysis of generalization

R. M. Foxx, Gerald D. Faw

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A program for teaching problem‐solving skills was evaluated with six psychiatric inpatients in a multiple baseline across groups design. Subjects received training on 12 problem situations and the generalization of verbal problem‐solving to six novel situations was assessed via probes presented by a novel person in an untrained setting. The generalization of overt behavior was assessed via pre/post contrived in vivo assessments that contained six situations used in training. The in vivo situations were integrated within a sequence of ongoing events in an effort to enhance the ‘naturalness’ of the assessment. The probes revealed some improvement in verbal problem‐solving skills, whereas minimal improvement occurred in the post in vivo test. Following the study, an attempt was made to enhance performance by having the trainer conduct a probe and adding verbal prompts to evoke problem‐solving during an additional in vivo assessment. Both efforts produced improvements in subjects' performance to a level near that achieved by a normative sample of 20 individuals. The results suggest that in vivo problem‐solving may be dependent on the methods used in presenting problem situations as well as situational factors. Issues related to these results and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-176
Number of pages18
JournalBehavioral Interventions
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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