Theory of mind and school achievement: the mediating role of social competence

Lecce, Serena, Caputi, Marcella, Pagnin, Adriano and Banerjee, Robin (2017) Theory of mind and school achievement: the mediating role of social competence. Cognitive Development, 44. pp. 85-97. ISSN 0885-2014

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Abstract

Recent findings have highlighted the importance of children's social understanding – specifically their reasoning about beliefs and emotions – for school achievement. However, little is known about the processes that may account for such a relationship. In this longitudinal study we examined the role of children's social competence (as indexed by peer relationships and social skills), using a multi-informant and multi-indicator approach. We followed 73 children during the transition to primary school, gathering data at three time points: Time 1 (age 5), Time 2 (age 7) and Time 3 (age 8). Structural equation modelling showed that Time 1 social understanding predicted Time 2 social competence, which in turn predicted Time 3 school achievement, independently of verbal ability. Moreover, social competence mediated the relationship between early social understanding and later school achievement. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: social competence, academic achievement, social understanding, theory of mind Abstract
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Ellena Adams
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2017 13:30
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2017 11:51
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/69954

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