Social competence

Scale: Social Competencies Scale of the Youth Outcome Measures Online Toolbox

What it measures:

  • A youth’s perceived ability to be assertive and to create and maintain positive peer relationships.

Intended age range: 8- to 18-year-olds.

Brief description: This measure consists of 7 items. The scale is adapted from the Social Self-Efficacy subscale on the Self-Efficacy Questionnaire for Children (SEQ-C). Sample items include: “I can make friends with other kids” and “I can talk with people I don’t know.” Youth respond on a 4-point scale: Not at all true, A little true, Mostly true, or Really true.

Rationale: This measure was selected based on its relative brevity, promising evidence of reliability and validity, and support for its use with diverse populations of youth and types of afterschool programs.

Cautions: Although intended for use with both children and adolescents, there is only limited research addressing the scale’s use with older, high-school-aged youth.

Special administration information: None

How to score: Each item is scored from 1 (Not at all true) to 4 (Really true). The total score is the average across all items.

How to interpret findings: Higher scores reflect greater perceptions of assertiveness and capabilities to make and maintain positive relationships with peers.

Access and permissions: The scale is available for non-commercial use with no charge. To receive a list of the survey items, contact the tool developers at this site or by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. A ready-to-use format is also available here.

Alternatives: Child Trends has developed a 9-item measure of social competence using a nationally representative sample of 12- to 17-year-old youth. This measure may be useful to consider for programs that serve primarily older youth. More information on the measure is available here.

Citation: Muris, P. (2001). A brief questionnaire for measuring self-efficacy in youths. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 23, 145–149.


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