Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Frank M. Gresham


The purpose of the study was to investigate behavioral correlates of children's social competence as classified by two different models, one focused on sociometric status, and the other based on more specific social skill deficits. A total sample of 971 junior high school students, either regular education or mainstreamed handicapped, were included in the study. Based on a peer nomination inventory, children classified as popular, controversial, neglected, and rejected, were compared within three different behavioral domains, social skills, academic achievement, and behavior problems. Major findings included the following: (a) popular children obtained relatively higher scores on social skills, followed by controversial, neglected, and rejected, each of which scored similarly in most areas; (b) both controversial and popular groups scored significantly higher than the two unpopular groups on academic achievement; (c) controversial and rejected demonstrated higher scores on behavior problems suggestive of externalizing interfering responses; (d) while the rejected group was the only one to obtain significantly higher scores on behavior problems suggestive of internalizing interfering responses, neglected children showed a trend toward this pattern of behavior. Subsequently, sociometric status groups were compared with respect to acquisition and performance deficits. These findings were most suggestive of a performance deficit classification, rather than acquisition or no deficit categories, for each of the four sociometric status groups. Implications for integrating the two social skill models into a more comprehensive classification system and suggestions for further research in the area are discussed.