Theories of Social Competence from the Top-Down to the Bottom-Up: A Case for Considering Foundational Human Needs

  • Kathryn N Stump
  • Jacklyn M Ratliff
  • Yelena P Wu
  • Patricia H Hawley


Social competence is an oft-studied, little understood construct that nonetheless remains a hallmark of positive, healthy functioning across the life span. Social competence itself, however, remains a nebulous concept in the developmental literature, particularly in the peer relations field. Dodge (1985) pointed out that there are nearly as many definitions of social competence as there are researchers in the field. Likewise, Ladd (2005) outlined the century-long academic history of research on social competence and also noted its numerous conceptualizations.


Social Skill Social Competence Social Preference Reactive Aggression Attachment Theory 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn N Stump
    • 1
  • Jacklyn M Ratliff
    • 1
  • Yelena P Wu
    • 1
  • Patricia H Hawley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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