Emotional symptoms from kindergarten to middle childhood : associations with self- and other-oriented social skills

Groeben, Maureen;
Pädagogische Hochschule Thurgau
Perren, Sonja; Stadelmann, Stephanie; von Klitzing, Kai

The study investigated the interactive impact of different dimensions of social skills on children’s emotional symptoms. We differentiate between self-oriented social skills which focus on considering own goals and needs in social interactions (assertiveness, social participation) and other-oriented social skills which focus on considering other’s goals and needs (pro-social and cooperative behavior). 167 children participated in the study at the ages of 5, 6, and 9 years. A multi-informant approach (parents, teacher, and child) was employed to assess children’s psychopathology. Teachers rated children’s social skills. The study demonstrated the importance of deficits in self-oriented social skills for the development of emotional symptoms. Low levels of assertiveness predicted later emotional symptoms. In children with low levels of pro-social behavior, high assertiveness protected from emotional problems. In contrast, high levels of pro-social behavior emerged as a risk factor for later emotional symptoms, especially when is goes along with low levels of social participation.



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