Links between mothers' and children's social competence and associations with maternal adjustment.

Research paper by M J MJ Prinstein, A M AM La Greca

Indexed on: 03 Jun '99Published on: 03 Jun '99Published in: Journal of clinical child psychology


Extended previous research on family factors related to children's social competence by examining links between 3 domains of maternal social competence (social skills, social frames, network size) and 3 domains of children's social competence (social skills, peer-rated social preference, and network size) in a sample of 78 mothers and their kindergarten children (42 girls, 36 boys). The mediational role of maternal social competence in the association between mothers' depression and interpersonal sensitivity symptoms and children's social competence was also tested. Results supported associations between all 3 domains of mothers' and children's social competence, with maternal social skills the most frequent predictor of children's social competence. Gender differences suggested that maternal social competence was more strongly related to sons' peer acceptance and daughters' social skills. A mediational model received preliminary support for girls, with maternal psychological symptoms related to girls' social competence via maternal social skills. Implications include the need for continued study of maternal social competence as a family factor related to children's peer functioning and the development of family-based interventions for young children experiencing peer problems.