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Title: Changes in Preschool Children’s Social Engagement Positively Predict Changes in Social Competence: A Three-Year Longitudinal Study of Portuguese Children
To test the hypothesis that social engagement is a foundational aspect of other peer social competence indicators during early childhood, 160 Portuguese preschool children (“3‐year‐olds”) were observed at least in two different school years, using a battery of validated social competence assessments based on direct observations and child interviews. Multilevel growth models tested whether social engagement predicted initial values and linear changes in the other social competence indicators. Results were consistent with the hypothesis, insofar as both initial values and changes in social engagement significantly predicted initial values and changes in other social competence indicators. Additionally, the number of children's reciprocated friendships was also predicted by social engagement. These results are discussed from the perspectives of conceptual frameworks that consider individual differences in social competence during early childhood as a consequence of attachment histories and/or emotional competence.  more » « less
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Social Development
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National Science Foundation
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