Semester of Graduation

Summer 2020


Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



Children in foster care lead their lives at an increased risk for mental health issues that are often complicated by the unstable and unpredictable nature of their living arrangements and interpersonal relationships. As such, there is substantial need to examine brief therapies and interventions for use with children in foster care and children who have experienced similar trauma and instability. Mental health care providers for children in foster care often may not have sufficient periods of time to implement treatment with fidelity. The present study investigated the efficacy of a summer camp based, brief behavioral intervention targeting help-seeking behavior and assertiveness to create meaningful skill improvement in a sample of children in foster care. Three, 30-min group sessions of a targeted assertiveness skill intervention were conducted on a sample of 13 children in foster care between the ages of 6 and 12 and compared to an assessment only control. Measures of general assertiveness, emotions towards seeking help, and assertiveness skill related to asking for help were used in a pretest-posttest format to assess the efficacy of the intervention. Results showed that participants in the intervention condition significantly improved on measures of general assertiveness and assertiveness skill, though not on the measure of emotions towards situations in which they would use these skills. These findings support the use of a brief intervention to teach assertive communication and help-seeking skill. Limitations and future directions are discussed.

Committee Chair

Noell, George