David J. El Dr. Achenbach, T. Implications of cross-informant correlations for situational specificity.
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David J. El Dr. Satterly djsatterly hotmail. Received: September 27, ; accepted for publishing: February 23, This work described the design of an instrument able to measure social development for Mexican children and the process of the establishment of its psychometric properties.
Theoretical aspects considered for its construction and the process of validating forms for parents and teachers are described in a three stage processes that resulted in a final version of the Social Development Scale that measures, disruptive behavior, social interaction, cooperation, acceptance and attachment as core dimensions associated with the concept of social competence. The importance of assessing social development and competence for education, children rearing and general well being are analyzed and discussed.
Key words: Social development, early interpersonal relationships. Developing the appropriate social skills depends upon various influences during childhood. Success in adult life is often related to the development of skills needed to adapt to a variety of social settings. Thus, it is important to measure social skills at an early age. Social development refers to the set of behaviors that a child displays in situations that involve others. The term is used with reference to the ability to make and sustain relationships, which relate to social adjustment and acceptance within the peer culture.
The purpose of the study is to construct and validate an instrument to measure basic social skills of Mexican children. It is intended to detect children with delays in social development at an age as early as 4 years.
It is expected that teachers, psychologists, and other professionals can use such an instrument to appraise indicators useful to measure change over time or the impact of appropriate programs. To construct a scale of social development appropriate for 4 years old Mexican children To establish its reliability, validity, and norms. Importance of the study.
After a thorough search for instruments used in pre-school settings and of recent research related to the area, one can conclude that in Mexico, there is a lack of systematic assessment procedures and scales useful for the detection of children with poor social adjustment. This fact hinders the possibility of early intervention to prevent future problems. In fact, in most Latin-American countries, the majority of strategies used to detect delays in social development are intuitive, clinical and unsystematic.
The majority of available instruments are translations of popular scales from the United States. Furthermore, there is a lack of instruments that take into account specific cultural factors involved in the phrasing of the items included in the instrument. Thus, the evaluation of social development risks the biases of clinical appraisal or the biases of the cultural differences embedded in instruments devised elsewhere.
Culturally appropriate scales are necessary since the way parents relate to children, the amount of freedom allowed, the expectations they have, among other events differ r from one culture to another. The importance of assessing social development. Traditionally, developmental psychologists have attempted to describe behaviors across different life stages in order to establish group norms against which one could compare growth, maturity or the presentation of expected milestones.
The origins of social behavior can be observed in very young children. That is, one must take into account the judgments and thoughts of others toward a particular child, and the feelings and thoughts of that particular child toward others. In addition, it demands the development of valid and reliable instruments that are pertinent to the theoretical stand taken, and are also adequate for the target population.
In sum, the recent interest of scholars in social development has led to the consensus that its evaluation in early years might be as useful as assessing cognitive development for example reading or writing in the preschool years.
However, to adequately measure social development one must possess valid and reliable scales. Developing social competence. From birth, interactive responses emerge and transform into more complex social interactions.
During the first year infants can distinguish and react appropriately to emotional expressions of caregivers. Dund and Kendrick , reported that in their second year children show helpful and cooperative behavior and empathetic responses to the distress of others. The forms of social interactions after two years of age become increasingly varied. Children at this age show different degrees of social awareness, cooperative play, understanding the feelings of others and social norms.
By the age of three children can marshal some very sophisticated reasoning about social relationships. Their power of understanding and knowledge of social rules may be used in struggles to get their own way.
By the end of the third year children not only recognize what others want but they grasp the idea that sharing is often expected from them Dund and Kendrick, According to Harris and Gross by four years of age children are taking into account the desires of others in predicting their emotional state. At this age children are also involved in social exchange, and sharing with their friends and peers is usually a very well mastered norm.
Indeed, Strayer asserted that children at this age are more interpersonally oriented. At this stage it also seems more likely that the child has had the opportunity to be involved in enough social interactions and would have mastered the required social skills to interact with peers and others.
On the other hand at the age of four it is still early enough to detect and prevent any possible difficulty in social development. Factors influencing early social development.
The development of social skills, this is the behavior that leads the child to solve social tasks and achieve social success, will enable the child to engage and sustain social interactions and will result in the acquisition of certain degree of social competence. Hartup regards this ability to develop social competence as one of the most important developmental tasks in early childhood. The development of social competence has been related to later adjustment and academic achievement.
In fact, Wentzel asserts that social competence in childhood is a powerful predictor of academic achievement. Only by understanding the nature of the developmental process is it possible to understand the links between early adaptation and later disorders Sanchez, Research has found some important factors that could influence early social development, such as parenting style, attachment, and siblings.
Firstly, Dishion found a relation between the family ecology and the rejection or acceptance by peers. During preschool years the parenting style is an important issue, since it would affect the child social abilities. Children at this age usually test the limits their parents impose on their behavior. They have a strong desire to control their own environment.
The way their parents respond to this is important. Parents tend to have different beliefs and styles of parenting. She found that children of authoritative parents tend to be self-reliant, self-controlled, and able to get along well with their peers. These children tend to have a higher degree of psychosocial maturity. On the other hand, children of authoritarian parents tend to have poorer peer relations and poorer school adjustment.
The basis for trust in relationships with others would develop from early attachments. Secure attachment also favors exploratory behaviors, which would also increase the likelihood of social interactions. According to Bowlby the development of attachment goes through four phases.
From three to seven months the infant would start showing preference for those who are gratifying. It is after seven months that parents become important. First attachments are formed at this stage. This stage will end at 30 months, when the child will start the goal corrected partnerships.
Ainsworth , identified three different types of attachment secure, avoidance, resitent o ambivalent each of them leading to different types of behavior in the children. This will allow the child to engage in other activities when the parents are not around without any fear or rejection to the parents when they return. More evidence of the importance of attachment in the development of social skills is found in different studies.
Waters et al. Lieberman found that the social competence of the children was related to the quality of the attachment between mother and children, and the amount of experience that the child had had with peers. One of the most important characteristics of mothers of competent children is that they interact sensitively with their children. They also experience pleasure in these interactions. And thirdly, if parents are important agents of socialization so are siblings.
The great majority of children have at least one sibling. Siblings spend a significant amount of time together. Hartup believes that the mismatch between their competencies encourages the acquisition of skills. The early social development of the child will be the result, as has been mentioned, of the combination of many factors such as parenting styles, early attachments and interactions with siblings. Assessing early social development. Green et al. There are various methods of assessing social development, qualitative and quantitative, standardized, clinical and ethnographic.
For example, in a qualitative view, a common method of obtaining a measure of peer acceptance is the peer nomination technique. In this technique children are asked to nominate a specified number of classmates according to certain criteria. This approach had its roots in the work of Moreno who believed that interpersonal relationships and experiences should be understood via consideration of two fundamental aspects of interpersonal experience: attraction and repulsion.
Even projective techniques have been used to evaluate social skills: for example Perry developed a conceptualization of the sociometric status in preschool children. Using a modified picture questionnaire he classified children into four categories: popular high social impact - positive social preference ; rejected high social impact - negative social preference ; amiable low social impact - positive social preference ; isolated low social impact - negative social preference.
Following Perry, several new sociometrical classification taxonomies were developed. The labels he used were: a popular , children who received many positive nominations and few negative; b rejected , children who received few positive nominations and many negative; c neglected , few positive and negative nominations; d average , children who received an average of positive and negative nominations; e controversial , children who received many positive and negative nominations.
They use a Likert-type scale to rate each classmate according to some specified criteria. Recent research indicates the importance of distinguishing between sociometrically rejected and sociometrically neglected children. Coie et al. Despite the various approaches to assess social skills, in this study an eclectic approach is to be taken, in an attempt to develop a standardized instrument. The age of the children is one factor that strongly influenced this decision.
Relationships at the age of four are short-lasting, therefore, the sociometric method would not bring any valid information. Projective techniques, on the other hand, have to be used by an expert, which is not the intention of this study. For the reasons mentioned above, a checklist directed to record observable behaviors is to be constructed as a basis for the instrument to be developed.