The present study had three main objectives: (1) to develop and validate scales of young adult social competence in two domains, close relationships and social groups, using peer ratings of California Q-sort (Block, 1974; Kremen & Block, 2002) items; (2) to test the hypothesis that social competence is associated with young adult well-being and ego development; (3) to test the hypothesis that close relationship competence aligns more closely than social group competence with young adult functioning. Psychometric data on peer ratings of social competence are presented. For 133 young adults, peer ratings of social competence were correlated in expected directions with indices of functioning (e.g., self-worth, education, psychological distress, criminal behavior, and ego development). Associations were generally stronger for competence in close relationships than in social groups.
Publications by Year: 2007
A history of exposure to harsh physical discipline has been linked to negative outcomes for children, ranging from conduct disorder to depression and low self-esteem. The present study extends this work into adolescence, and examines the relationship of lifetime histories of harsh discipline to adolescents’ internalizing and externalizing symptoms and to their developing capacities for establishing autonomy and relatedness in family interactions. Adolescent and parent reports of harsh discipline, independently coded observations of conflictual interactions, and adolescent reports of symptoms were obtained for 141 adolescents at age 16. Both parents’ use of harsh discipline was related to greater adolescent depression and externalizing behavior, even when these effects were examined over and above the effects of other parenting measures known to account for these symptoms. Adolescents exposed to harsh discipline from mothers were also less likely to appear warm and engaged during an interaction task with their mothers. It is suggested that a history of harsh discipline is associated not only with social and emotional functioning, but also with the developmental task of autonomy and relatedness.
The relation of attachment security to multiple domains of psychosocial functioning was examined in a community sample of 167 early adolescents. Security of attachment organization, assessed using the Adult Attachment Interview, was linked to success in establishing autonomy while maintaining a sense of relatedness both with fathers and with peers, even after accounting for predictions from qualities of the mother-teen relationship. Growth curve analyses revealed links of insecurity to increasing patterns of externalizing behavior and higher and stable patterns of depressive symptoms across adolescence. Implications for a developing theory of the connections of the attachment system to multiple domains of functioning in adolescence are discussed.
Little is known about how to predict which individuals with known temperament vulnerabilities will go on to develop social anxiety problems. Adolescents (N = 185) were followed from age 13 to 18 to evaluate psychosocial, prospective predictors of social anxiety symptoms and fears of negative evaluation (FNE), after accounting for pre-existing social withdrawal symptoms. Results from structural equation modeling suggest that lack of perceived social acceptance predicts subsequent explicit social anxiety and FNE, whereas the emotional intensity of close peer interactions predicts subsequent implicit FNE. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of peer interaction in the development of social anxiety, and the value of measuring both implicit and explicit FNE.