Maternal social competence, mothers' social management behavior, and children's social competence: A mediational model

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Annette M. La Greca - Committee Chair


Investigated maternal social competence and mothers' social management behavior as factors that may influence the development of children's social competence:. Also, developed and tested a conceptual, mediational model in which mothers' and children's social competence are related via mothers social management behavior. Participants included 78 kindergarten children (42 girls, 36 boys) and their mothers. Mothers completed an assessment of social skills and social frames during home-based interviews as measures of their own social competence. Phone-based logs of mothers' parenting behavior during children's social contacts provided an assessment of the number of children's social contacts, the frequencies of mother- and child-initiated contacts, mothers' initiation and monitoring styles. Finally, an assessment of children's social competence included mother-rated social skills and school-based peer ratings and nominations. Greater levels of mothers' social skills were related to mothers' initiation style, as well as to greater levels of children's social skills. Mothers' with positive social frames were more likely than other mothers to utilize direct monitoring during their children's social contacts and to have children who were more liked by peers. Mothers' frequency of initiating social contacts, higher levels of direct monitoring, and lower levels of involvement during children's social contacts were related to more adaptive social competence outcomes for children. Despite many findings between these three constructs, statistical support for a mediational model was not obtained. Findings suggest that maternal social competence and parenting behavior are both variables to consider in the development of children's social competence.


Psychology, Social; Psychology, Developmental

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