The direct and indirect relationships among kindergarten children’s social mastery motivation, receptive vocabulary, and socioemotional skills

  • Wing-kai FungEmail author
  • Kevin Kien-hoa Chung


Social mastery motivation is a critical correlate of children’s vocabulary and socioemotional skills, but little research has investigated the relationships among these factors. The present study investigated the direct relationships between socioemotional skills and the instrumental and expressive indicators of social mastery motivation and the indirect relationships between these variables through receptive vocabulary. The participants were 171 Hong Kong Chinese kindergarten children (76 girls; mean age 3.84 years) and their parents. The children’s social mastery motivation, receptive vocabulary, and non-verbal intelligence were individually assessed in their homes. Both of each child’s parents reported their educational level and child’s socioemotional skills. Path analysis revealed that expressive social mastery motivation had a positive relationship with socioemotional skills and that instrumental social mastery motivation was indirectly related to socioemotional skills through receptive vocabulary. The findings highlight the different relationships between two indicators of social mastery motivation and socioemotional skills, and social mastery motivation may improve children’s vocabulary and socioemotional skills through day-to-day social interactions.


Social mastery motivation Receptive vocabulary Socioemotional skills Kindergarten children 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

“All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.”

Informed Consent

“Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.”

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Early Childhood EducationThe Education University of Hong KongTai PoHong Kong

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