Group Work with Children and Adolescents: Prevention and Intervention in School and Community Systems


Steven R. Rose

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: Concepts of Group Work

    Part II: Applications of Group Work

  • SAGE Sourcebooks for the Human Services Series


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    GROUP WORK WITH CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS: Prevention and Intervention in School and Community Systems



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    Many of the social problems of children and adolescents are amenable to prevention or intervention through group work. Children and adolescents are prone to develop a wide range of social problems in family and peer relationships, social competence, mental health, substance abuse, and school performance. With reductions in support available in many family relationships, peer relationships have become increasingly important to many children and adolescents.

    Acceptance by and participation in peer groups, which are highly valued by most children and adolescents, tend to provide the youngsters with opportunities for furthering their social development. Nevertheless, some youngsters lack such opportunities. Withdrawn and aggressive children and adolescents who are neglected, isolated, or rejected by their peers, can benefit from group work that is designed to develop their social competencies.

    Although many children and adolescents remain in the same schools and communities from one year to the next, some have the experience of entering new ones. Transitions between schools and between communities, which include normative transfers and graduations as well as extraordinary events, such as changes in geographical location due to family disruption, tend to increase the stressors experienced by young people. Children and adolescents who change schools and communities often have more situations and persons to adjust to, and have a greater likelihood of developing interpersonal and social problems than youngsters in more stable situations. Children and adolescents who are highly stressed may benefit from acquiring coping skills in group work.

    Outline of the Book

    The first part of the book presents concepts of a problem-solving approach to group work. Chapter 1 describes the social and environmental context of group work with children and adolescents. It provides the rationale and context, as well as the advantages and limitations, of group work. Chapter 2 explicates the problem-solving approach to group work, which reflects stressors experienced by and thought processes of members.

    Chapter 3 describes the use of planning, composition, and assessment to form effective groups. Preventive and interventive processes and the uses of several types of activities are presented. The developmental phases of problem-solving group work are described, along with practice guidelines.

    Chapter 4 contains the purposes and types of evaluation of group work with children and adolescents. Suggestions for conducting evaluations in school and community systems are provided.

    Chapter 5 reviews research on the effectiveness of group work with children and adolescents. The chapter reconsiders the problem-solving approach to group work, its applications in and relationship to school and community systems, as well as emerging social issues for school-age children and adolescents.

    The second part of the book focuses on applications of the problem-solving approach to group work. Each chapter presents the purpose, rationale, and advantages of group work for dealing with a particular social problem. Ideas for practice include assessment, problem recognition, planning and composition, leadership, and activities. An example of a group is provided for each social problem.

    Chapter 6 discusses group work with children and adolescents from families in which separation and divorce have occurred. Such group work practice is widely used to help the many youngsters who are affected by divorce.

    Chapter 7 examines group work to improve peer relationships and social competence. The chapter emphasizes the use of interpersonal-cognitive problem-solving skills in developing friendships.

    Chapter 8 describes the use of group work with children and adolescents who are at risk for developing mental health and substance abuse disorders. Such disorders, whose recognition was once limited to adults, are now more commonly recognized among children and adolescents.

    Group work aimed at increasing the achievement levels of children and adolescents with academic problems is considered in Chapter 9. Truancy and dropout prevention are among the problems included in the school performance chapter.


    I thank Charles Garvin for his ample editorial contributions to this work, ranging from conception to implementation. His exemplary vision of group work with children and adolescents is reflected throughout this book.

    My heartfelt gratitude is expressed to the editorial staff at Sage. Jim Nageotte is a superlative editor. His recommendations were astute, adroit, and timely. I also gladly acknowledge the efficient work of Heidi Van Middlesworth, Ellen R. Girden, and Wendy Westgate.

    I wish to thank my colleagues at Louisiana State University for their support of my work. Kenneth Diehl, Lyn Louden, Shannon Robshaw, Cynthia M. Steed, and Lisa M. Theriot provided diligent assistance in carrying out part of the ground work for this book.

    I express my appreciation to Ken Millar of Louisiana State University and Alan York of Bar-Ilan University for their sponsorship of the sabbatical during which substantial portions of this book were written.

    Thanks are also due to the staff of the Louisiana State University, Bar-Ilan University, and Hebrew University of Jerusalem libraries, and the Central Library for Social Work in Jerusalem.

    Finally, I thank my wonderful family, whose sustenance has been an essential element of authoring this book.

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    About the Author

    Steven R. Rose is Professor of Social Work at Louisiana State University. He received the MSW from Washington University (St. Louis) and the PhD from the University of Wisconsin, in Madison. He has served as a faculty member at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Vermont, and as a visiting faculty member at Bar-Ilan University. He has held professional positions in schools and in mental health and child, youth, and family agencies. He conducts research on social services for children and adolescents.

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