Social problem solving in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

Sara A. Stevens, Danielle Major, Joanne Rovet, Gideon Koren, Ellen Fantus, Irena Nulman, Mary Desrocher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) show impairments in social functioning. However, the factors underlying these impairments are poorly understood. Recent evidence has shown that social problem solving is a critical component of effective social functioning. Objectives The present study sought to examine social information processing as one potential factor contributing to social skills and behavior impairments observed in children with FASD. Methods Forty-three children, 20 with FASD (mean age 12.6 years) and 23 typically developing controls (TDC; mean age 12.5 years) were studied. Social information processing was investigated using the Children's Interpersonal Problem Solving task (ChIPS; Shure and Spivack, 1985), which assesses problem solving in response to social dilemmas. Results Children with FASD produced fewer relevant responses than TDC and their responses belonged to a fewer number of categories. Conclusion Children with FASD show reduced ability in generating solutions for social dilemmas. By understanding this weakness, which may partially explain the social skill deficiencies in FASD, targeted therapies may be designed to improve social functioning following prenatal alcohol exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e99-e110
JournalJournal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD)
  • Social information processing
  • Social problem solving

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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