Social skills in students 8-12 years old. Diverse profile according to sex

Authors: Alicia Peñalva Vélez, Maria Asunción Vega Osés, José Javier López Goñi

Publication: Bordón. Revista de pedagogía, ISSN 0210-5934, ISSN-e 2340-6577, Vol. 72, Nº 1, 2020, pages. 103-106

Language: Spanish


INTRODUCTION. Social competence is a multidimensional and evaluable concept that develops throughout childhood, and involves the development of behaviors and skills related to the implementation of processes of coexistence and interaction. Its development is linked to the mastery of basic social skills or prosocial interpersonal behaviors. For all these reasons, the objectives of this study are twofold: 1) to assess the factor structure of The Matson Evaluation of Social Skills in Youngsters in a sample of primary education students and 2) to determine the differences according to gender among the students of 4th-6th grade of primary.

METHOD. To achieve both objectives, a sample of 436 boys and girls from three public centers was evaluated using a questionnaire designed to assess the degree of adequacy of social behavior (MESSY). Descriptive analyzes were performed for all the items in the assessed questionnaire. In order to assess internal consistency, Cronbach's alpha was calculated and a factor analysis was performed.

RESULTS. Alpha values ​​between 0.693 (4th) and 0.842 (6th) were obtained. 45.9% of the total variance was explained with a five-factor model: social skills, competitiveness / arrogance, cordiality/friendship, aggressiveness, and loneliness. Statistically significant differences were found between boys and girls.

DISCUSSION. Based on the data, it is recommended that interventions on social competencies should reinforce positive social behaviors and channel competitiveness towards the spirit of improvement, and not towards arrogance. Direct physical aggressive behavior in boys and verbal violence and social exclusion in girls must be addressed. The 4th grade (10 years) seems a crucial moment to promote emotional skills, especially among girls, and friendly behaviours in boys.