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Family Matters No. 64 - May 2003

Social competence in young adulthood, its nature and antecedents

Diana Smart and Ann Sanson

Abstract

   Despite the challenges and problems that confront young people today, many find their lives to be satisfying, rich and full. This article discusses the nature and antecedents of a key attribute which fosters well being and interpersonal relationships - social competence. Using data from the Australian Temperament Project currently housed at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the authors report on the use of a new measure of social competence developed for use with young adults to explore the connections between social competence and other forms of adjustment and well being. Levels of social competence at 19 - 20 years of age, and gender differences, are described. The paper also reports on the stability and antecedents of such skills from childhood to adulthood.  

Despite the challenges and problems that confront young people today, many find their lives to be satisfying, rich and full. This article discusses the nature and antecedents of a key attribute which fosters well being and interpersonal relationships - social competence. Using data from the Australian Temperament Project currently housed at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the authors report on the use of a new measure of social competence developed for use with young adults to explore the connections between social competence and other forms of adjustment and well being. Levels of social competence at 19 - 20 years of age, and gender differences, are described. The paper also reports on the stability and antecedents of such skills from childhood to adulthood.  

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