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Social Competence

Social Competence

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Social Competence

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  1. Social Competence Samantha Katz Social and Personality Development November 4, 2004

  2. Overview • Definition of social competence • Social competence at different stages of development • How social competence is attained • Social Information Processing Model • Assessment of social competence

  3. Defining Social Competence • Single biggest challenge for the literature • In 1973 the Office of Child Development brought together a panel of 12 experts to define this term. • They developed a list of 29 capacities/behaviors believed to be facets of social competence (Anderson & Messick, 1974) • Concept of self as initiating and controlling agent • Habits of personal maintenance and care • Language Skills • Problem Solving Skills

  4. Various Definitions of Social Competence

  5. Defining Social Competence • Some definitions place greater emphasis on relationships, others on skills, and others on outcome • Commonality among the definitions: • Effectiveness in interaction • The ability to guide the behaviors and contingent responses of others to meet one’s own goals

  6. The ability to use environmental and personal re-sources to achieve a good developmental outcome.(Waters & Sroufe, 1983) • Key advantage of this perspective: • Developmental perspective allows for great flexibility while maintaining a single integrative definition • Useful for age appropriate assessment or research • Focus of adaptation rather than on specific skills

  7. Developmental Perspective • Need to focus on different behaviors at different ages as exemplars of social competence • Key question: What Develops? • Select issues central to each developmental period

  8. Infancy • 0-3 months – physiological regulation • 3-6 months – management of tension • 6-12 months – establishing an affective attachment relationship • 12-18 months – exploration and mastery • recognition of peers as social partners

  9. The Toddler Years • Individuation and autonomy • Flexibility, resourcefulness, and the ability to use adult assistance without being overly dependent on it • Complementary and reciprocal play structures with peers • The beginning of stable friendships

  10. The Preschool Years • Impulse management and sex-role identification • Social knowledge of the peer group • Empathy, high levels of positive affect, low levels of negative affect (Sroufe 1983; Sroufe et al. 1981) • Deal flexibly with a situation by exchanging information with others – initiate interaction, respond contingently to social gestures of others, refrain from overt expression of negative behaviors (Lieberman 1977)

  11. Middle Childhood • Self confidence • Peer group membership and close friends (Elicker, Englund, & Sroufe, 1992) • Positive social orientation - sense of humor, good at helping, sharing, and taking turns, friendly, and well-liked (McDowell et al. 2002)

  12. Adolescence • Formation of intimate relationships (friendships and sexual relationships) • A deeper commitment to friendships • Operating within a network of relationships • Coordination of intimate relationships, within-group interactions, and larger social network (Englund et al. 2000)

  13. How Do Children Develop Social Competence? • Through their relationships with their parents • Attachment • Emotional Competence • Through their relationships with peers

  14. Attachment and Social Competence • Motivational Base • Attitudinal Base • Instrumental Base • Emotional Base • Relational Base • (Sroufe, Egeland & Carlson, 1999)

  15. Attachment and Social Competence • Studies have shown the relationship between early attachment and the social competence of children of all ages • Securely attached toddlers exhibited more symbolic play, were more enthusiastic, more compliant, and showed more positive affect than insecurely attached children (Matas et al. 1978) • Quality of attachment at 15 months predicted Q-sort assessments of social competence at 3 ½ years (Waters, Wippman, & Sroufe, 1979) • Attachment at 12 and 18 months predicted summer camp counselor evaluations of 10 year old children’s social competence (Elicker, Englund, & Sroufe, 1992)

  16. Parenting and Emotional Competence • Emotional Expressiveness • Emotional Regulation • Emotional Knowledge Socialization of Emotion: Modeling Understanding of Emotions Socialization of Emotion: Reactions Social Competence and Emotion Regulation Expression of Emotion Socialization of Emotions: Coaching Denham, 1998

  17. Path from Emotional Competence to Social Competence Child’s Externalizing Behavior Problems Mother’s Positive Expressivity Child’s Internalizing Behavior Problems Child’s Regulation Mother’s Negative Expressivity Child’s Social Competence Eisenberg et al. (2001)

  18. Parental Role in Children’s Peer Relationships • Key method for parents to improve children’s social competency initiate peer interactions • Leads to: • Large number of different playmates • More consistent companions in nonschool settings • Greater peer acceptance (for boys) • (Ladd & Golter, 1988)

  19. Peer Relationships • “Without healthy play, especially group play, human nature cannot rightly develop”(Cooley, 1909) • Rhesus monkeys and peer deprivation

  20. Peer Relationships • Peer Modeling • Pretend Play • Friendships

  21. Peer Modeling Children imitate the behaviors of their peers • Altruism – sharing in nursery children • (Hartup& Coates, 1967) • Aggression – aggression in preschoolers • (Hicks, 1965) • Emotional Behavior – dog phobias in preschoolers • (Bandura, Grusec & Menlove, 1967)

  22. Pretend Play • Correlation between pretend play in preschool and social competence among preschoolers (Howes & Matheson, 1992; Shin, 1995) • Pretend Play helps children practice: • 1. Out-of-play negotiations • 2. Enactment of pretend episodes • (Doyle & Connolly, 1989)

  23. Friendships • Peer relationships provide: • A context for acquiring a variety of competencies • Resources for emotional support enabling exploration • Precursors for other relationships • Among infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, children who maintained friendships over the course of a year displayed greater social competence • The number of frequent play companions preschoolers had in the playground was positively correlated with social competence • (Price & Ladd, 1986)

  24. Dodge’s Social Information Processing Model Five Steps: 1-Encode social cues 2-Mentally represent encoded cues and interpret them 3-Access or generate potential behavioral responses 4-Evaluation and decision 5-Enact the chosen response Children are not necessarily consciously aware of moving through these steps

  25. Reciprocal Influence Model of Aggression Ecological Input: Values Norms Peers’ antisocial behavior toward child Ecological Input Social Information Processing Encoding Deciding Enacting Social Information Processing Dislike by peer Situational stimulus Constitutional Input: Temperament Attentional limits Memory & Goals Child’s aggression toward peer Constitutional Input Longitudinal Outcomes Academic failure Delinquency

  26. Evaluating the Social Information Processing Model • Show child video of two children engaged in a difficult social situation. Ask questions that assess proficiency at each step of model • Step 3 – “Think of as many ways as possible to join the group” • Step 5 – “Could you show me how you would ask me if you could play with me?” • Steps 1, 3, 4, 5 each predicted success uniquely • Significant differences in information processing in children rated as high and low in social competence

  27. Assessing Social Competence(Waters and Sroufe, 1983) • Broadband versus narrow assessment • Real behavior versus laboratory behavior • Emphasize coordination of affect, cognition, and behavior • Tax behavioral and integrative capacity

  28. Methods for Assessing Social Competence • Observations • Q-Sorts • Peer and teacher nominations

  29. Observations • In infants, observe how infants act in Ainsworth’s Strange Situation Task • Observe child during problem solving task – affect, verbal negativism, frustration, excessive dependence on others, compliance with suggestions of others (Matas et al., 1978) • Observe child during peer play – ability and willingness to interact with other, affect, chain of exchanges, etc. (Lieberman, 1977)

  30. Q-Sorts • Items pertaining to a given construct are sorted into piles depending on how representative they are of a given child. • Sample Items from Block and Block’s California Child Q-set: • Is admired and sought out by other children • Develops genuine and close relationships • Is cheerful • Tends to be sulky and whiny

  31. Advantages of Q-Sorts • Observers are unaware of the constructs that will be evaluated from their data • Response bias is reduced • Observers do not need to have knowledge of norms for the items • (Waters et al., 1985)

  32. Peer, Teacher, and Self Reports • Peers Report • Show children pictures of classmates – place them in like a lot, kind of like, and do not like boxes • Teacher Report • Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation Short Form (LaFreniere & Dumas, 1996) • Teacher Checklist of Peer Relations (Coie & Dodge, 1988). • Self Report • Susan Harter’s Perceived Social Competence Scale

  33. Summary • Social competence is difficult to define • The same construct presents itself differently at different stages of development • Parents contribute to the development of their children’s social competence through their attachment relationship and through teaching emotional competence • Peers contribute through modeling, pretend play, and friendships • Social competence can be assessed through observations, Q-sorts, and parent, teacher, and self nominations

  34. Future Directions • Social Competence in adults • Longitudinal studies evaluating the relationship between social competency in children and in adults • Evaluating relationship between peer and parent influences on social competency

  35. References Dodge, K. A., Pettit, G.S., McClaskey, C.L., & Brown, M.M. (1986). Social competence in children. With commentary by John M. Gottman. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 51, 1-85. Waters, E. & Sroufe, L.A. (1983). Social competence as a developmental construct. Developmental Review, 3, 79-97. Anderson, S. & Messick, S. (1974). Social competency in young children. Developmental Psychology, 10, 282-293. Asher, S.R., Singleton, L.C., Tinsley, B.R., & Hymel, S. (1979). A reliable sociometric measure for preschool children. Developmental Psychology, 15, 443-444. Denham, S.A. (1998). Emotional Development in Young Children New York: Guilford Press. Denham, S.A., Blair, K. A., DeMulder, E., Levita, J., Sawyer, K. et al. (2003). Preschool emotional competence: pathway to social competence? Child Development, 74, 238-256. Dodge, K.A. (1986). A social information processing model of social competence in children. Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology, 18, 77-125. Dodge, K.A. (1985). Facets of social interaction and the assessment of social competence in children. In B.H. Schneider, K.H. Rubin, & J.E. Ledingham Children’s Peer Relations: Issues in Assessment and Intervention (pp. 3-22).New York: Springer-Verlag. Eisenberg, N., Thompson Gershoff, E., Fabes, R.A., Shepard, S. A. Cumberland, A.J. et al. (2001). Mothers’ emotional expressivity and children’s behavior problems and social competence: Mediation through children’s regulation. Developmental Psychology, 37, 475-490. Elicker, J., Englund, M., & Sroufe, L.A. (1992). Predicting peer competence and peer relationships in childhood from early parent-child relationships. In R.D. Parke & G.W. Ladd (Eds.), Family-Peer Relationships: Modes of Linkage (pp. 77-106). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  36. References Englund, M.M., Levy, A.K., Hyson, D.M., & Sroufe, L.A. (2000). Adolescent social competence: effectiveness in a group setting, Child Development, 71, 1049-1060. Hartup, W.W. (1970). Peer interaction and social organization. In P.H. Mussen (Ed.), Carmichael’s Manual of Child Psychology (pp. 361-456). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Howes, C. (1983). Patterns of friendship. Child Development, 54, 1041-1053. Howes, C. (1987). Social competence with peers in young children: Developmental sequences. Developmental Review, 7, 252-272. Howes, C. & Matheson, C.C. (1992). Sequences in the development of competent play with peers: Social and social pretend play. Developmental Psychology, 28, 961-974. Lieberman, A.F. (1977). Preschoolers’ competence with a peer: Relations with attachment and peer experiences. Child Development, 48, 1277-1287. Matas, L., Arend, R.A., & Sroufe, L.A. (1978). Continuity of adaptation in the second year: the relationship between quality of attachment and later competence. Child Development, 49, 547-556. McDowell, D.J., Kim, M., O’Neil, R., Parke, R.D. (2002). Children’s emotional regulation and social competence in middle childhood: the role of maternal and paternal interactive style. Marriage and Family Review, 34, 345-364. Parke, R.D., O’Neil, R., Isley, S., et al. (1998). Family-peer relationships: Cognitive, emotional, and ecological determinants. In M. Lewis & C. Feiring (Eds)., Families, Risk, and Competence (pp. 89-112). Mahwah: Lawrence Earlbaum.

  37. References Price, J.M. & Ladd, G.W. (1986). Assessment of children’s friendships: implications for social competence and social adjustment. Behavioral Assessment of Children and Families, 2, 121-149. Rubin, K.H., & Rose-Krasnor, L. (1992). Interpersonal problem solving and social competence in children. In V.B. Van Hasselt & M. Hersen (Eds.). Handbook of Social Development : A Lifespan Perspective (pp. 283-323). New York: Plenum Press. Rose-Krasnor, L. (1991). The nature of social competence: A theoretical review. Social Development, 6, 111- 135. Shin, Y. (1995). Relationship between friendship, social competence, and social pretend play: Comparison between Korean-and Anglo-American Preschoolers. Adong Hakhoe chi, 16, 37-47. Sroufe, L.A. (1983). Infant-caregiver attachment and patterns of adaptation in preschool: The roots of maladaptation and competence. Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology, 16, 41-83. Sroufe, L.A., Egeland, B., & Carlson, E.A. (1999). One social world: The integrated development of parent-child and peer relationships. Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology, 30, 241-260. Sroufe, L.A., Schork, E., Motti, F., Lawroski, N., & LaFreniere, P. (1984). The role of affect in social competence. In C.E. Izard, J. Kagan, & R.B. Zajonc (Eds.), Emotions, Cognition, and Behavior (pp. 289-319). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Waters, E., Noyes, D.M., Vaughn, B.E., Ricks, M. (1985). Q-Sort definitions of social competence and self- esteem: discriminant validity of related constructs in theory and data. Developmental Psychology, 21, 508-522. Waters, E., Wippman, J., & Sroufe, L.A. (1979). Attachment, positive affect, and competence in the peer group: Two studies in construct validation. Child Development, 50, 821-829.

  38. Reviewers Lisa Burckell Lea Dougherty