Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)




Kenneth W. Merrell


Previous research in the area of social skills of children and adolescents has resulted in confusion over the number and name of empirically derived dimensions. While much work has been done to derive empirically based taxonomies of child and adolescent problem behaviors, such is not the case for positive social behaviors. The present study conducted an extensive review, analysis, and synthesis of over two decades of factor analytic research on child and adolescent social skills to derive an empirically based taxonomy.

Results suggest five dimensions that occurred in over one third of the studies: Peer Relations, Self-Management, Academic, Cooperation, and Assertion. The most common social skills associated with these dimensions are presented. It is advised that clinicians and researchers begin employing this taxonomy to: (a) provide a nomenclature by which to refer to the five positive social skill patterns, (b) identify dimensions on which children or adolescents may have deficits, (c) design interventions to increase the occurrence of these skills, all of which have been empirically related to important social outcomes, (d) measure the effects of interventions, and (e) aid in theory development.



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