Summary of the Systematic Review

Article Citation

Efficacy of Group Social Skills Interventions for Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Gates, J. A., Kang, E., et al. (2017).
Clinical Psychology Review, 52, 164-181.
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Sponsoring Body

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Article Quality Ratings

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Indicators of Review Quality

  • Yes The review states a clearly focused question/aim.
  • Yes Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided.
  • Yes Search strategy described in sufficient detail for replication.
  • No Included studies are assessed for study quality.
  • N/A Quality assessments are reproducible.
  • Yes Characteristics of the included studies are provided.

Article Details


This is a meta-analysis of randomized control trials (RCTs) investigating the effects of group-based social skills interventions (GSSIs)  on the social competence of children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Questions/Aims Addressed

This systematic review had two primary aims.
  1. to meta-analytically examine the efficacy of GSSIs as assessed using well-designed RCTs according to the contemporary literature; and
  2. to consider whether these effects differed according to all known sources of information in the literature (parent report, teacher report, self report, observer report, measured behavior on a relevant task), as well as according to intervention characteristics, content, and change measurement.


School-aged children and adolescents (5-21 years) with ASD


Social skills group intervention

Number of Studies Included


Years Included

To January 2016

Conclusions from This Systematic Review

What are Conclusions?

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The findings from this meta-analysis show that group-based social skills interventions (GSSIs) result in moderate (g = 0.51) improvements in overall social competence in children on the autism spectrum compared to no treatment controls. Results varied by source of intervention effect. "Parents and observers report small effects of GSSIs, and task-based measures yield medium effects. Teachers appear not to see effects of GSSIs. While youth with ASD self-report large effects, these changes appear entirely attributable to changes in social knowledge; when social knowledge measures are excluded, youth self-report no changes in GSSIs" (p. 175).

Keywords: Social Communication, Social Skills Treatments/Groups

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