Indirect Measures as Predictors of Social Skills Observed through Means of Direct Observation
Sidwell, MacKenzie Denise
McCleon, Tawny E.
Stratton, Kasee K.
The scope of the current study focuses on the relationship between direct and indirect methods of measuring social skills in children. Participants included 33 children between the ages of 6 and 11 years old. The sample drew from elementary schools in 2 Southern states in the U.S., as well as social skills groups from a university-based clinic. While some participants had been previously identified has having disabilities impacting social performance, it was not an inclusionary requirement and the majority of children were not identified as having a disability clinically or through a special education eligibility domain. Teachers and clinicians leading social skills groups completed indirect measures, the Behavior Assessment Scale for Children Third Edition (BASC-3) and the Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) related to the participants’ social skills. Direct observations of participants were completed using the Social Observation System (SOS) by graduate level research assistants. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine the predictive value of the teacher informed indirect measures on the direct method of observation. Additionally, simple linear regression analyses were conducted to examine the reverse relationship of the direct observation’s ability to predict the variance observed in each indirect measure. Results indicated that both the indirect and direct methods of social skills assessment can significantly predict the other. However, while significant, a low to moderate amount of variance in the direct measure is explained by the indirect measures of social skills. The results and implications of the finding are discussed, as well as limitations and future directions.