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What is social competence? An investigation into the concept among children with antisocial behaviours
Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties  (IF),  Pub Date : 2019-11-18, DOI: 10.1080/13632752.2019.1687168
Silje Hukkelberg, Terje Ogden

ABSTRACT The study investigates child social competence a three different measurement levels (overall level, factor level, and item level), in a sample of parents and children participating in interventions towards emerging or present child problem behaviours. Parents of 550 children aged 3–12 (71% boys) evaluated social competence using the Home and Community Social Behaviour Scales (HCSBS), which assess two aspects of the concept: peer relations and self-management/compliance. An additive index across all 32 items was made to examine how parents reported overall social competence across ages, whereas factor analysis was used to investigate their underlying latent structure. Network analysis was used to investigate how the social competence items connect and interact. Results showed that parents reported higher levels of overall social competence among the girls compared to the boys, but this difference vanished about age 12. Factor analyses showed that a bifactor-ESEM model obtained the best model fit to data, whereas the network analysis revealed differential clustering and strength centrality for the items. Implications of these results are discussed.