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Assessing social competence and behavior problems in a sample of Italian preschoolers using the Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation scale

The main goals of this study were to examine the factor validity of the Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation (SCBE-30) scale using exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis and to test factor invariance across gender in a sample of Italian preschool-age children (241 boys, 252 girls). The concurrent validity of the SCBE scale was examined with measures of children's popularity and rejection. Our findings replicated a 3-factor model of the SCBE scale found in other studies with 3 correlated factors of social competence, anger-aggression, and anxiety-withdrawal. Multigroup confirmatory factor analyses provided evidence of configural, metric, and partial scalar invariance of the scale across gender. Popularity was positively related to children's social competence and negatively related to anxiety-withdrawal. Rejection was positively related to children's anger-aggression and anxiety-withdrawal and negatively related to social competence. Practice or Policy: The use of the SCBE scale in the Italian educational setting may help teachers understand children's emotional and social competencies and thereby improve social adjustment in the classroom. (author abstract)
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