Issue 1/2012, 4. Volume Page 99–123
Self- and other-oriented social skills: Differential associations with children’s mental health and bullying roles
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We conceive of social competence as the ability to use social interactions to satisfy one’s own goals and needs while at the same time considering the needs and goals of others. To assess these two dimensions, a questionnaire was developed (SOCOMP: Self- and Other-oriented social COMPetences). The aim of the current study was to establish reliability and construct validity of the parent report of the SOCOMP-measure. 428 10-13-year-old children participated in a follow-up assessment of a longitudinal study. Children reported on their mental health and bullying roles and parents completed the SOCOMP-measure. The SOCOMP had also been completed by kindergarten teachers about six years before. Internal consistency of the parent-reported social skills scales was moderate to high. Longitudinal analyses showed significant associations between parent-reports and (former) teacher-reports within the same dimension but not across dimensions (self and other). Parent-reported deficits in other-oriented social skills were associated with conduct problems, bullying perpetration and lower levels of defender behavior in bullying situations, whereas deficits in self-oriented social skills were associated with depressive symptoms and peer victimization. The cur-rent study provides further support for the importance of distinguishing between the suggested two dimensions of social skills.
Social skills; Mental health; Bullying; Peer victimisation