SOCIAL COMPETENCE: STUDENTS´ PERCEPTIONS ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL

A. Candeias

University of Evora (PORTUGAL)
Social competence can be defined as the ability to select and implement the appropriate cognitive and behavioural resources to deal with the challenges of specific social situations. (Candeias, 2008). This study proposes to present and discuss children and adolescents’ perceptions about their social competence. Participants were 842 children and adolescents’, 477 girls (56.7%) and 365 boys (43.3%), aged 7 to 16 years old (µ=11.50±2.00), attending the 4th (N=278), 6th (N=313), and 9th (N=251) grades, at elementary and secondary schools, in the northern, central and southern Portugal. These participants fulfilled the Perceived Social Competence Scale (PSC; Candeias, 2008) which consists of seven subscales: six subscales concern hypothetical social situations, and one other subscale concern excellent performance, in general, in those social situations. PSC was administered in two different assessment moments, with an intermission of one year. No statistical significant differences were found between the three groups of participants (4th, 6th and 9th graders), at pre-test, as well as, at post-test. Implications are drawn to the development of future educational interventions that promote social competence.