Investigating a Participation-Based Friendship Intervention for Youth with Disabilities: Effects on Goal Attainment, Social Self-Efficacy, and Engagement
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Aims: This preliminary study examined the effects of a participation-based friendship intervention for youth with physical and developmental disabilities on their goal attainment, social self-efficacy, and engagement in program sessions.Methods: Before and after the eight-session intervention, five youth with physical and developmental disabilities ages 15-20 (3 females) completed a measure of goal attainment scaling (GAS) and the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) for goals related to friendship, along with a measure of social self-efficacy. Engagement was assessed after every second session (i.e. four times). After the program, youth completed interviews to capture their perceptions of each of these variables. Quantitative data were analyzed descriptively, enriched with the qualitative data.Results: Overall, youth achieved their GAS goals and demonstrated clinically significant change in mean COPM performance and satisfaction. Three youth displayed clinically significant change in social self-efficacy. Engagement in the program was high, with the majority of participants reporting slightly increasing levels of engagement over the sessions. The interviews substantiated these quantitative changes.Conclusions: There are few evidence-informed friendship interventions for youth with disabilities. This study provides initial evidence for the effectiveness of a participation-based friendship intervention incorporating coaching and focusing on real-world goals and contexts.
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