Trees in the forest: Some components of social skills

Marian L. Macdonald, Jiska Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the disadvantages of overemphasizing single components in research endeavors, studies in the area of social skills generally have been restricted to one social skill termed assertion. Two experiments were conducted to demonstrate the existence of social skills other than assertion that were both distinct and discriminable from it. In Experiment 1, raters (N = 146) judged 9 social skill terms as well as the term assertion to be in significantly (p < 0.05) different and unique locations in a two‐dimensional semantic space. In Experiment 2, an independent sample of 80 Ss classified concrete instances predicted to reference differentially each of the 10 distinct terms from Experiment 1; results indicated that the concrete instances were distinguishable in the ways that were predicted (p < 0.001) and, in all cases where hypothesized, as separate from assertion (p < 0.001). On the basis of these data, a case was made for diversifying future study among social skills in addition to assertion and for planning the course of this diversified study with explicated research strategies specified before the fact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-347
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1981


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