The study examined the effect of guided imagery on overt social behavior of children during free play. Forty withdrawn and rejected first-graders (6 to 8 years of age) were randomly assigned to one of five conditions. Four of them were guided imagery conditions: mastery plus peer acceptance, mastery with no social contingency, coping, and gradual rehearsal. A fifth control condition involved no intervention. It was predicted that the four imagery conditions would increase and maintain positive socialization, but the coping condition would be the most effective. Children under the coping condition, which involved guided imagery of failure to get peer acceptance, but progressively mastering the social interaction and finally being accepted by peers, consistently increased positive socialization behaviors from baseline to post-treatment and follow-up, as compared to gradual rehearsal and control. Both mastery conditions increased socialization at post-treatment, but reverted to baseline levels during follow-up.
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