The Outcomes Effectiveness of Storytelling Intervention in Improving Social Information Processing Deficits among Children with Reactive Aggression


Student thesis: Master's Thesis

View graph of relations



Awarding Institution
Award date6 Jan 2022


Early-onset aggression indicates a wide range of negative developmental outcomes, including violent behavior, school dropout, substance abuse, and mental health problem (Fisher et al., 2016; Ttofi, Farrington, & Lösel, 2012; Werner & Crick, 2004). However, considering the limited impacts of previous researches on preventing aggression among young children (Hendriks, Bartels, Colins, & Finkenauer, 2018; Weisz et al., 2017; Wilson & Lipsey, 2007), effective interventions need to be explored. Therefore, this study implements the storytelling intervention, an innovative therapy, and evaluates its effect in reducing aggression among children from primary schools. Further, this study employs two different theories as the theoretical framework, the Social Information Processing model (SIP) and Social Learning Theory (SLT). Thus, this study intend to explore the effectiveness of interventions based on the SIP and SLT in reducing reactive aggression. 

This study consisted of 138 children with reactive aggression, selected from 5956 children in 15 Hong Kong primary schools based on their scores on the Reactive-Proactive Aggression Questionnaire (RPQ). Children whose total RPQ score was one standard deviation above the mean were considered high-risk aggressive children. High-risk aggressive children who received an RPQ-reactive subscale score that was one standard deviation higher than the sample mean were then classified as children with reactive aggression. The present study implemented a randomized experimental design for students in first to fourth grades. Participants were randomly divided into three groups: the SIP-intervention group, the SLT-intervention group, and the standard control group. Participants in the SIP-intervention and the SLT-intervention groups received 10 sessions of storytelling intervention. The session plan of the SIP-intervention group was designed based on the SIP model, focusing on correcting cognitive distortions and reducing aggression. As for the SLT-intervention group, the content of the session plan was designed based on SLT, aiming to learn prosocial behaviors, emotional regulation, and attentional management from the life stories of scientists. Except for the content, the two intervention groups functioned the same in other session settings, including the number of participating children in each group, and the duration and number of sessions. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected over three waves: the pre-test assessment (before the intervention), the post-test assessment (within two weeks after the intervention), and the follow-up test (six months after the intervention).

Compared with the other two groups, participants in the SIP-intervention group reported significantly better change after the intervention. The quantitative results showed that participants in the SIP-intervention group reported a larger increase in anger control in the follow-up assessment. In addition, the qualitative results indicated that participants in the SIP-based intervention group intended to express low level of anger, and had started to express other feelings. Moreover, they tended to think deeply before deciding how to react, and generally attributed attribute the cause of events to internal factors or objective factors. Thus, the findings from this study provide evidence that the storytelling intervention designed based on the social information processing model effectively improves children’s deficits in processing social information and contributes to their healthy development.