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According to the idea that the different roles children play in their first peer groups are important in their socialization, we approach a measure of social ability in preschool children using two indices: amplitude of behavior and amplitude of partnership. In this way we attempt to develop and validate a behavioral assessment of social competence based on diversity of social contacts and behavior. The study was carried out during 1989-90 at a grammar school in Cadiz (Spain) where the preschool children (n=27) were filmed during 30 minutes of daily free play. In analysing the relationships within all these elements, we used a multiple linear regression (BMDP1R-Dixon, 1985). Of eight behavioral patterns likely to influence social ability, two contributed significantly to individual differences in amplitude of behavior (leadership and follow-partner). Concerning behavioral factors, both prosocial and assertiveness are negatively related to the amplitude of partnership; and the behavioral factors that reflect assertiveness, prohierarchy and agonism are positively related to the amplitude of behavior. Although it is premature to predict children's future social success based on these data, both the amplitude of partnership and the amplitude of behavior probably give the child an advantage when he/she acquires an experience which allows him/herself to continue the process of socialization.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1993-01-01

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