Academic journal article Journal of Behavioural Sciences

Social Competence Scale for Adolescents (SCSA): Development and Validation within Cultural Perspective

Academic journal article Journal of Behavioural Sciences

Social Competence Scale for Adolescents (SCSA): Development and Validation within Cultural Perspective

Article excerpt

Defining social competence has been a difficult task for social competence researchers and theorists. Some theorists have defined social competence in terms of enquiring effective social skills to manage social relationships (Dodge, 1985; Hubbard & Coie, 1994; Cavell, 1990; Gresham, 1986) While others define social competence as attaining relevant social goals in specified social contexts, using appropriate means, resulting in positive developmental outcomes (Ford, 1982). Irrespective of methodological differences and dimensional variations in explaining social competence, all social competence researchers and theorists unanimously agree that social competence refers to socially effective actions and social competence is totally distinct and clearly exclusive from cognitive ability (Brown & Anthony, 1990; Ford & Tisak, 1983).

Undoubtedly, social competence has emerged as a salient personality trait for progressive development of human beings throughout the life span. As children grow up, their span of social interaction continues to increase with family members as well as with teachers, friends and, age fellows. Consequently, children would be in need to acquire more refined and sophisticated skills in order to smoothly mange their growing and emerging social relationships. Adolescence has been viewed as an age of dramatic social, emotional and developmental changes and parents have to accept an inevitable challenge of providing strong support, especially, at the time of transition from childhood to early adolescence. Researchers have identified some areas of conflict between adolescents and their parents during this transition, for example, peers' valued behaviours become more important than behaviours valued by parents (Lerner, Karson, Meisels & Knapp, 1975; Lerner & Shea, 1982). Some other researchers noted potential areas of conflict like peer demands and peer influences. Adolescents have strong desire to be accepted by at least some reference groups, mainly peer group, and to gain acceptability, adolescents involve in smoking, delinquent activities that are considered maladaptive behaviours by their parents and adults (Krosnick & Judd, 1982; West, 1982). Peer influence on adolescents may not be necessarily inconsistent with the expectations of parents or adults because peer pressure may enforce the adolescents to behave in antisocial or pro-social manner. Moreover, adolescents may enhance their positive social skills and understanding of relationship that directly relates to peer group (Burleson, 1985; Kurdek & Krile, 1982; Bemdt, 1979). Adolescents have strong urge to achieve social autonomy in order to develop more mature relationships with peers, and to take more social responsibilities (Sacks & Wolffe, 2006).

Schneider, Ackerman and Kanfer (1996) reported that social competence has several independent dimensions such as extraversión, warmth, social influence, social openness, social appropriateness, social maladjustment and social insight. All these dimensions of social competence were closely related to Big Five personality dimensions and less related with cognitive abilities. On the contrary, researchers also reported very different dimensions of social competence i.e., social intelligence, social influence and social memories (Kosmitzki & John, 1993). Schneider et al., (1996) surprisingly reported that some dimensions that were expected like social skills and social self regulation did not emerge as exclusive dimensions and no dimension like self monitoring and impression management emerged. Researchers exploring dimensions of social competence reported conflict resolution skills, intimacy skills, prosocial behaviour, self-control/behaviour regulation, social confidence, social initiative, assertiveness, social efficacy , and empathy/sympathy as an important dimension of adolescents' social competence (Newcomb & Bagwell, 1995; Wentzel & Caldwell, 1997; Wentzel & Erdley, 1993;Young & Bradley, 1998; McFarlane, Bellissimo, & Norman, 1995; Barber & Erickson, 2001; Murphy et al. …

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