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Social Competence in the School Setting: Prospective Cross-Domain Associations among Inner-City Teens

Suniya S. Luthar
Child Development
Vol. 66, No. 2 (Apr., 1995), pp. 416-429
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131587
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131587
Page Count: 14
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Social Competence in the School Setting: Prospective Cross-Domain Associations among Inner-City Teens
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Abstract

In this 6-month prospective study of 138 ninth-grade inner-city students, associations among different aspects of school-based social competence were examined. In addition, links between initial emotional adjustment and subsequent social competence at school were explored. Aspects of social competence examined included academic achievement, peer reputation, and teacher-rated classroom behaviors. Emotional adjustment was measured based on self-reported internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Consonant with views positing continuity and coherence of development, high temporal consistency was found within each social competence domain. In addition, superior adjustment in one domain was sometimes associated with subsequent improvements in other spheres as well. Exceptions found to this pattern were that (a) both as an antecedent and as a consequent variable, peer-rated sociability was negatively linked with other indices of school-based functioning, and (b) among girls, high anxiety was related to improved performance at school over the year. Ecological influences in adolescent adjustment are discussed, and implications of the findings for future research are explored.

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