Perceived Social Competence of Resilient Children
2011, 43 (09):
This study aims to 1) explore how resilient children perceive their social competence and self-efficacy in comparison with nonresilient ones, 2) examine the difference in discrepancy between explicitly-perceived and real social competence between the two groups, and 3) unveil the group difference in implicitly-perceived social competence.
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A converging technique was used to assess the severity of stresses/adversities and multiple aspects of psychosocial functions in 523 primary and middle students (from grade 3 to 8); 99 and 176 children were identified as resilient and nonresilient, respectively. The children’s explicitly-perceived social competence was measured by the Perceived Competence Scale for Children (PCSC) and the Self Efficacy Scale (SES), their implicitly-perceived social competence by Implicit Associate Test (IAT). Scores of real social competence were obtained by multi-information and multi-dimension methods. Descriptive statistics, (partial) correlation, Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA), and (M)ANCOVA were adopted to compare the explicitly- and implicitly-perceived social competence, self-efficacy, explicitly-perceived and real social competence discrepancy in resilient children to their nonresilient counterparts.
Results indicated that resilient children had higher total scores than nonresilient children both on PCSC (F(4,266)=4.58, p=0.001) and SES (F(2,270)=11.07, p<0.001), with significant group differences in PCSC’s subscale of cognitive competence (F(1,269)=16.09, p<0.001), social competence (F(1,269)=4.06, p=0.045), and general self-worth (F(1,269)=7.45, p=0.007), as well as in SES’s subscale of general self-efficacy (F(1,271)= 21.93, p<0.001), except physical competence subscale of PCSC (F(1,269)=0.53, p=0.468) and social self- efficacy subscale of SES (F(1,271)=1.76, p=0.185). Children’s explicitly-perceived social competence and psychosocial functions proved to be significantly intercorrelated (r=0.56, N=499, p<0.001). In addition, this study showed that nonresilient children tended to have perceived social competence close to (t(174)=0.68~1.33, p>0.05), but interestingly, statistically uncorrelated with (r=0.02~0.08, n=175, p>0.05) their real social competence, while resilient children tended to perceive their social competence lower than (t(97)= –4.54~–3.11, p<0.01) but positively correlated to (r=0.24~0.36, n=98, p<0.05) their real social competence. Substantial differences were also found in the discrepancy of explicitly-perceived and real social competence (F(1,271)= 10.72~18.28, p≤0.001) and in that of incompatible and compatible IAT task response time (F(1,146)=4.41, p<0.037) between the two groups.
In conclusion, resilient children had higher perception of their social competence and self-efficacy in general than their nonresilient peers. The discrepancy between explicitly-perceived and real social competence differed between the two groups. Resilient children tended to perceive themselves as more competent than the nonresilient according to IAT. The characteristics of self-perception of social competence in resilient children and their implications for development of resilience were discussed.