What determines the focus of a researcher's interest, the sources of inspiration for a study, or the variables scrutinized? If we were to examine the antecedents of these decisions, they would surely emerge as accidents of circumstance--the personal experiences of the researcher, the inspiration of early mentors, the influence of contemporary colleagues--all tempered by the intellectual currents that nurture the researcher's hypotheses. Among the accidents that mold the careers of researchers is geographic location. The culture in which a research program emerges helps determine both its very subject and its method. The primary purpose of this book is to assist those interested in the scientific study of children's social competence in transcending the boundaries imposed both by geography and by selective exposure to the highly diverse schools of thought that have led to interest in this field. Most of these ideas were presented and exchanged at an Advanced Study Institute entitled "Social Competence in Developmental Perspective" held in Savoie, France, in July 1988. This Institute was attended by scholars from France, England, Northern Ireland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Canada, the United States and Brazil. Those who participated will recognize that the metamorphosis from lecture to chapter has necessitated many changes. In order to accommodate the reader who may be unfamiliar with the field, more attention has been paid here to identifying the theoretical contexts of the research described.
Section I Social Competence in Developmental Perspective: Conceptual Issues.- to Section I.- 1. Significance of Peer Relationship Problems in Childhood.- 2. The Role of Competence in the Study of Children and Adolescents Under Stress.- 3. The Nature of Social Action: Social Competence Versus Social Conformism.- 4. Individual, Differential, and Aggregate Stability of Social Competence.- What to Do while the Kids are Growing Up: Changing Instrumentation in Longitudinal Research (Conversation Summary).- 5. Socially Competent Communication and Relationship Development.- 6. Measuring Peer Status in Boys and Girls: A Problem of Apples and Oranges?.- Section II The Emergence of Social Competence in Early Childhood.- to Section II.- Friendships in Very Young Children: Definition and Functions (Conversation Summary).- 7. Communicating by Imitation: A Developmental and Comparative Approach to Transitory Social Competence.- 8. Co-adaptation within the Early Peer Group: A Psychobiological Study of Social Competence.- 9. Development of Communicative Competencies in Early Childhood: A Model and Results.- Section III Ongoing Social Development In Middle Childhood And Adolescence.- to Section III.- Examining the Impact of Social Behavior on Peer Status (Conversation Summary).- 10. Self-Perpetuating Processes in Children's Peer Relationships.- 11. Types of Aggressive Relationships, Peer Rejection, and Developmental Conse quences.- 12. The Role of Rough-and-Tumble Play in the Development of Social Competence: Theoretical Perspectives and Empirical Evidence.- Section IV Setting Factors in Children's Social Development: The Influences of Families and Schools.- to Section IV.- 13. Young Children's Social Competence and Their Use of Space in Day-Care Centers.- 14. Children's Social Competence and Social Supports: Precursors of Early School Adjustment?.- 15. Social Competence Versus Emotional Security: The Link between Home Relationships and Behavior Problems in Preschool.- 16. Maternal Beliefs and Children's Competence.- Section V Translating Theory into Practice: Social Competence Promotion Programs.- to Section V Challenges Inherent in Translating Theory and Basic Research into Effective Social Competence Promotion Programs.- 17. Between Developmental Wisdom and Children's Social-Skills Training.- 18. Enhancing Peer Relations in School Systems.- 19. Promoting Social Competence in Early Adolescence: Developmental Considerations.- 20. Appendix: Research Abstracts.