Direct and Indirect Effects of Maltreatment and Social Support on Children’s Social Competence Across Reporters


Children’s social competence is a key characteristic of resilience, yet little research has assessed contributing factors to this construct. The objectives of this study were to examine direct and indirect effects of maltreatment on children’s social competence, the promotive role of child and caregiver social support, and factors contributing to reports of child social competence across informants. Structural equation modeling evaluated the influence of CPS report history, child adjustment, and child and caregiver social support on child social competence in n = 783 caregiver-child dyads. CPS report history (age 0–8) was indirectly related to low social competence through child adjustment problems. Social support was a significant promotive factor of child social competence, with caregiver social supports predicting higher levels of parent-reported child social competence. Child social support predicted self-reported child social competence. Findings reinforce the assertion that both caregiver and child social support networks are critical to promoting child well-being after adversity.

Publication Title

Child Psychiatry and Human Development