Although it has been widely assumed that the two domains of social and academic competence are independent, significant positive correlations have recently been found. The present study focused on peer judgments of social competence. Data on 157 secondary school students revealed significant negative correlations. Further analysis was based on Coleman's (1961) explanation that intellectual students are willing to work hard at a relatively unrewarded activity. The results here confirm this view; a significant interaction effect was found for academic effort, academic subject, and academic achievement. It is argued that the contrasting correlations between academic and social competence may be explained by the various operationalizations of social competence.
In contradiction to the assumption that social competence is independent of academic intelligence, significant positive correlations have been found between the two (Cauce, 1987; Keating, 1978; Walker & Foley, 1973). Cauce (1987) reported a correlation of .16 between grade point average (GPA) and peer judgments of popularity in a sample of secondary school students. Green et al. (1980) found a correlation of .33 between sociometric peer judgments of "best friend" and grade point average for primary school children. Pelligrini (1985) found a correlation of .38 between academic achievement and peer judgments of positive aspects of social conduct (such as leadership qualities) with primary school children. Fork and Tisak (1983) reported a positive correlation of .52 between peer judgments of social competence and grade point average with secondary school children.
A possible explanation for these positive correlations is that social and academic competence have global competence as a common element. Ford and Tisak (1983) have suggested that social behavior forms a separate domain, while cognitive social …