University of Twente Student Theses


Upside Down : The feasibility of studying social skills in individuals with Down Syndrome who participate in drama training

Schuffelen, P.C.J (2019) Upside Down : The feasibility of studying social skills in individuals with Down Syndrome who participate in drama training.

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Abstract:Background: Social skills are crucial to effectively communicate with others and function in society. Individuals with Down Syndrome (DS) are, however, suggested to have more limited social skills than those without DS, which makes them vulnerable to develop psychological problems. Previous research has demonstrated that social skills can improve by drama training, in particular the theory of mind (TOM), empathy and emotion regulation. This however has not been demonstrated in individuals with DS. The present study examined whether it is feasible to study the social skills of individuals with DS who participate in a drama training. Methods: To do this an expert was consulted on the potential of a drama training in the stimulation of TOM, empathy and emotion regulation in individuals with DS. In addition, the TOM-skills of 13 individuals with DS participating in drama training were examined, using the TOM-test-R. The TOM-test-R is an instrument which has only been used in children without DS and therefore participation observation and a cognitive interview were used to test its suitability and appropriateness for data-collection in future research. Results: According to the expert, individuals with DS do not have the capacity to cognitively evaluate what another person thinks, and therefore TOM should not be trained by a drama training. He suggests that individuals with DS have strong emotional antennae and possess a form of enhanced empathy which, just as emotion regulation, is stimulated by drama training. The scores on the TOM-test-R varied highly among participants, with some individuals being able to understand second-order-beliefs and some only the precursors of TOM. Conclusion: These results suggest that individuals with DS have a higher potential regarding TOM than previously suggested. Based on the present study the investigation into the social skills of individuals in the DS-population who participate in a drama training is found feasible. It is suggested to further research the social skills in a longitudinal study. The recommendations elaborate on which instruments can be used for data-collection.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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