SOCIAL COMPETENCE IN CAREER: A LONGITUDINAL STUDY WITH PORTUGUESE ADOLESCENTS

J.C. Pinto1, M.C. Taveira1, A. Candeias2, A. Araújo1, A.I. Mota1, A. Pereira2, L. Faria3, F. Veiga4, A.D. Silva1, L. Saavedra1, C. Estevão1, M.J. Cortes5, C. Marques1

1University of Minho (PORTUGAL)
2University of Évora (PORTUGAL)
3ISLA Campus Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
4University of Lisbon (PORTUGAL)
5Schoool Santa Isabel, Estremoz (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). Career development is an example of a social-relational process (Blustein, 2011) which requires the referred competence. Nevertheless, there are few theoretical and empirical studies concerning the understanding of social skills in the realm of career development of young adolescents. In this sense, this study aims to present and discuss adolescents’ perceptions about their social competence to deal with career issues. Participants were 1080 adolescents, 548 girls (50.7%) and 532 boys (49.3%), aged 11 to 25 years old (µ=14.76±1.85), attending the 8th (N=548), 10th (N=279), and 11th (N=253) grades, at elementary and secondary schools, in the northern, central and southern Portugal. These participants fulfilled the Perceived Social Competence in Career Scale (PSC-Car; Candeias, 2008, adapt. by Araújo, Taveira, & Candeias, 2009) which consists of eight subscales: six subscales concern hypothetical social situations related to career, and two other subscales concern poor and excellent performance in those social situations. PSC-Car was administered in two different assessment moments, with an intermission of six months. No statistical significant differences were found between the three groups of adolescents (8th, 10th and 11th graders), at pre-test, as well as, at post-test. A statistically significant reduction in perceived poor performance was registered, when compared the pre-test and post-test results of 8th graders, and also the pre-test and post-test results of 11th graders. Implications are drawn to the development of future career interventions that promote social competence.