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The study investigated religiosity, parental monitoring and gender as predictors of
social competence among adolescents in secondary schools in Enugu State. Three
hundred and sixty (360) students from Girls’ Secondary School Emene, Community
Secondary School Emene, St. Joseph Secondary School Emene and St. Patrick
Secondary School Emene (180 males and 180 females) participated in the study.
The adolescents’ ages ranged from 12 years to 17years, with mean age of 14.5
years. Three instruments were used for data collation in the study: Religious
Affiliation Scale; Parental Monitoring Measure and Social Competence-Teen
Survey. Multiple regression was used for data analysis and the result showed that
religiosity did not significantly predict adolescents’ social competence.The result
showed that parental monitoring significantly predicted adolescents’ social
competence (β= .21, t =3.60, p < .001). The result equally indicated that gender
significantly predicted adolescents social competence (β= .15, t = 2.54, P < .05).
The implications and limitations of the findings were highlighted and suggestions
made for further studies


Title Page i
Certification ii
Dedication iii
Acknowledgments iv
Table of Contents v
List of Tables vi
Abstract vii
Statement of the Problem 12
Purpose of Study 13
Operational Definition of Terms 13
Theoretical Review 15
Empirical Review 22
Summary of Literature Review 32
Hypotheses 33
Participants 34
Instruments 34
Procedure 36
Design/Statistics 37
Implications of the study 43
Limitation of the study 44
Suggestions for further studies 44
Summary and Conclusion 44


Social competence is a complex and multidimensional concept consisting
of social, economic and behavioural skills, motivational and expectancy sets
needed for successful adaptation (Gresham, 1995). Thomas and Carver (1998)
defined social competence as consisting of a socially valued dimension defined by
such characteristics as self-esteem, academic achievement, intellectual
development, creativity, moral behaviour, and/or internal locus of control. Drozdz
and Pokorski (2007) defined social competence as the effectiveness of one’s
coping with, and performance in everyday real life situations. Social competence
is also defined as ones ability to achieve personal goals in social interaction while
simultaneously maintaining positive relationships with others over time and across
situations (Rubin & Rose-Krasnor, 1992). Inherent in this definition of social
competence are two related, but separate constructs: Good social skills and quality
social relationships.
Social competence also reflects having an ability to take on a new
perspective concerning a situation, learn from past experiences, and apply that
learning to the changes in social interactions. Foster and Richey (1979); Anderson
and Messick (1974) on the other hand defined social competence as the ability to
be effective in the realization of social-goals. These social outcomes include;
having friends, being popular and engaging in effective interaction with other
Social competence is the broader term used to describe an adolescent’s
social effectiveness. Adolescent social competence in a general sense refers to the
degree that an adolescent develops the relevant attitudinal and behavioural
repertoire that a given social order sees as good and desirable. An adolescent’s
level of social competence is associated with a variety of desired outcomes. It is
related positively to peer acceptance (Buhrmester, 1990; Coyne & DeLongis,
1986; Kohlberg, Ricks, & Snarey, 1984), to his or her social values (Allen,
Weissberg, & Hawkins, 1989), to his or her level of self-efficacy (Connolly,
1989), and to his or her level of self-esteem (Buhrmester, 1990).
Hair, Jager and Garrett (2001) posit social competency as an important
element for adolescents’ healthy development. On the other hand, adolescent as
Larson and Richards (1994) put it is a transition period characterized by dramatic
changes. It is a crucial time in life; a stage that bridges childhood and adulthood.
Adolescent is a critical period for the development of autonomy, maturity, and
personal identity (Hastings, Vyncke, Sullivan, McShane, Benibgui & Utendale,
2006). During this stage of the life cycle, adolescents experience puberty
(Steinberg, 1993), expand their cognitive abilities (Keating, 1990; Lapsley, 1990),
develop a sense of self and identity (Hair, 1999; Harter, 1999; and Keating, 1990)
and may alter expectations from school and for academic achievement (Eccles &
Midgley, 1990; Hoffman, Levy-Shiff, Ushpiz, & Schlatter, 1993; Simmons &
Blyth, 1987). Their relationships with their parents (Hair, Jager, & Cochran, 2001;
Holmbeck, Paikoff, & Brooks-Gunn, 1995) and peers change as well
(Csikszentmihaly & Larson, 1984; Savin-Williams & Berndt, 1990). Deficits in
social competencies have likewise been linked to negative adolescent outcomes,
including mental health problems, delinquency, substance abuse, sexual offending,
loneliness, high-risk sexual behaviour, and academic and vocational difficulties
(Hansen, Giacoletti, & Nangle, 1995; Kupersmidt & Coie, 1990; Miller, 1990;
Parker & Asher, 1987) aggression or other attitudinal and/or behavioural problems
(Barber & Thomas 1986; Rollins & Thomas, 1979).
Social competency establishes a framework that provides the definition,
structure, and support to adolescents towards learning, practicing, and generalizing
social behaviour (Myles & Southwick, 2005). According to Child Trends for
Templation Foundation (2010) adolescence social competence is defined as a set
of positive social skills necessary to get along well with others and function
constructively in groups, including; respecting and expressing appreciation for
others; being able to work and communicate well with others and listen to other’s
ideas; demonstrating context-appropriate behaviour that is consistent with social
norms; and using a range of skills or processes aimed at resolving conflict.
Adolescents’ social competence has also been described as the ability to initiate
and maintain friendships among the group and to interact successfully and
collaboratively among the adolescents to find a comfort level in social situations
(Gutstein & Whiteney, 2002; Knott, Dunlop & Mackay, 2006).
Social competence is the foundation upon which adolescents expectations
for future interaction with others are likely to be built upon. When viewed from
developmental perspective, what constitutes social competence changes as
development proceeds. According to Stroufe and Water (1977) the quality of
adaptation with respect to salient developmental tasks is central to a definition of
social competence from a developmental perspective. Specific skills and
behaviours that constitute social competency changes as adolescents develop
older. As they develop and change, they as well develop the skills or the
competence to maintain quality relationships.
At each stage, new social capacities emerge, as adolescents not only gain
more skills and abilities but also build on pervious development and develop
qualitatively different and more complex ways of organizing their behaviour
(Stroufe, 1996; Stroufe, Egeland, & Carlson, 1999). Adolescents’ social
competency could depend upon a number of factors including; the adolescents’
social skills, social situations, social awareness and self-confidence. Social skills
describe an adolescent’s knowledge of an ability to use a variety of social
behaviour that are appropriate to a given interpersonal situation and that are
pleasing to others in each situation. The capacity to inhibit egocentric, impulsive,
or negative social behaviour at times is also a reflection of an adolescent’s social
skill. For instance, adolescents who have a wide repertoire of social skills and who
are socially aware and perceptive are likely to be socially competent.
Social situations such as interpersonal relationships places high values on
adolescents social competency. Ability to interact in social, occupational, or
academic setting is fundamental for successful social outcomes and the
development of emotional maturity and competency (Denham, Mason, Caverly,
Schmidt, Hackney, Caswell, & DeMulder, 2001); while most adolescents learn
these skills through intuition and observation.
Havighurst (1974), Hill (1980) and Stroufe et al., (1999) observed social
competence as a complex phenomena because of the number of issues involved in
adolescents’ relationships. These issues include: (i) The formation of intimate
relationships involving both friendships and sexual relationships. (ii) A deeper
commitment than previously to relationships, including greater self disclosure and
emotional vulnerability. (iii) Functioning within a network of relationships; and
(iv) The coordination of intimate relationships, within group interactions, and the
larger social network. Adolescent social competence may also likely to be
influenced by the social context and the extent to which there is a good match
between the adolescent’s skills, interests, abilities and those of family members
and religiosity.
Moreover, as faith is known to be as old as humankind itself, religion has
long been considered as an important force in shaping human beings, especially in
their social aspects of life. Religion is identified as a strong determinant of human
behaviour (Comstock & Partridge, 1972; Khavari & Harmon, 1982; Jarvic &
Northcott, 1987). Connelly (1996) pointed out that religion originates in an
attempt to represent and order beliefs, feelings, imaging and actions that arise in
response to direct experience of the secret and the spiritual. Connelly went further
and noted that as this attempt expands in its formulation and elaboration; it
becomes a process that creates meaning for itself on a sustaining basis, and both in
terms of its originating experiences and its own continuing responses.
On the other hand, religiosity refers to religious activity in the extreme. It is
characterized by excessive involvement in religious activities. Often, religiosity
reflects one’s beliefs more than those of the religious organization itself.
Religiosity as a concept is complex and difficult to define. This is because
religiosity is found to be synonymous with such terms as religiousness, orthodoxy,
faith, belief, piousness, devotion, and holiness (Cardwell, 1980). These synonyms
reflect what studies of religiosity would term as dimensions of religiosity, rather
than terms that are equivalent to religiosity. The second reason for this complexity
is that current interest in the concept of religiosity crosses several academic
disciplines, each approaching religiosity from different vantage points, and few
consulting one another (Cardwell, 1980; Demerath & Hammond, 1969).
Attempting to describe the broadest range of religiosity, Bergan and
McConatha (2000) defined religiosity as a number of dimensions associated with
religious beliefs and involvement. It usually entails extreme zeal and affection
outside and beyond the norms of one’s faith or beliefs. Another term used for
religiosity though less often is “religiousness,” the state of being superficially
religious. According to Worthington (1988) religiosity encompass the following
variables: Frequency of attendance and participation in religious activities,
agreement and support for theological components of faith, and frequency of
reference to the Bible, Torah, or other sacred texts. In addition, Worthington
proposed that religiosity includes prayer, Bible study, or devotional behaviours,
the extent to which religious faith is incorporated into daily life, and one’s status
of membership in a religious institution.
Lenski (1963) identified four different ways in which religiosity might be
expressed: Associational, communal, doctrinal, and devotional. Lenski observed
that it is possible to be religious in one way without being religious in other ways.
Lenski also observed that a person could be highly visible within a church
community but not truly accept its doctrines; or one could be extremely devotional
in private. A religious person may not allow some dimensions of religiosity to
invade his or her daily life; a person may know or believe, but not live accordingly
(Lenski, 1963).
Allport and Ross (1967) identified two basic dimensions of religiosity:
extrinsic and intrinsic. They interpreted extrinsic religiosity as a self-serving and
utilitarian outlook on religion that provides the believer with comfort in salvation.
These individuals are disposed to use religion for their own ends, such as status,
sociability, and self-justification, and often selectively shape a creed to fit their
own ends.
A person with intrinsic religiosity is one who internalizes the total creed of
his or her faith and moves beyond mere church attendance. These individuals find
their master motive for life in religion, and their other needs are brought into
harmony with their religious beliefs: The extrinsically motivated person uses his
religion, whereas the intrinsically motivated person lives his religion. Other recent
studies of religiosity stressed a multidimensional focus of religiosity that
encompassed such concepts as the subjective, cognitive, behavioural, social, and
cultural dimensions (Chumbler, 1996; Ellison, 1991).
The question therefore is whether religion is related to positive or negative
behavioural outcomes? Zern (1987) in his opinion states that religiously involved
and committed adolescents are significantly better able to consistently reach their
potential. Thomas and Carver (1998) affirmed that integration into social orders is
the critical element in preparing people to live better.
Thomas and Carver also noted that as the individual becomes integrated
into the religious social sphere and accepts the set of values surrounding those
social relationships, he or she becomes more sensitive to interpersonal
expectations from significant others, finds it easier to develop goals, and more
readily identifies personal abilities needed to achieve those goals.
Thomas and Carver (1998) on that regards thus, posits that religious
involvement and commitment is consistently related to increasing social
competence; the abilities and skills required for adequate functioning in society
and to decreasing the tendency to develop attitudes and participate in activities that
are devalued in society. The higher the involvement in the religious sphere, the
lower the frequency, intensity, or duration of these various forms of antisocial
behaviour (Thomas & Carver, 1998).
On the other hand, close relationships, open and healthy communication,
and perceived parental support and monitoring are especially important during
adolescence, as they experiences many physical and emotional changes. Mutual
interactions among family members are essential for setting family functions
(Drozdz & Pokorski, 2007). Parent-child interactions seem of special nature not
only for family function but also for nurturing an adolescent child future social
behaviour (Skinner, Johnson & Snyder, 2005). Parents’ engagement in the
upbringing of their children is crucial for the children’s future and this engagement
forms a unique personality of a future adult ( Drozdz & Pokorski, 2007).
Patterson and Stouthamer-Loeber (1984); Dishion and McMahon (2003)
observed that parental monitoring of adolescents’ activities and social
relationships appears to be a critically important aspect of effective socialization
during this developmental period. More so, parental monitoring and family
communication patterns are found to strongly influence adolescents’ social
competence (Peterson & Leigh, 1990).
Parental monitoring in this study is conceptualized as a set of correlated
parenting behaviours involving attention to and tracking of the adolescent’s
whereabouts, activities, and adaptations. Li, Stanton and Feigelman (2000) defined
parental monitoring to include communication between child and parent and
supervision of children in terms of knowing where they are, what they are doing
and who their friends are.
Parental monitoring is defined as the process of observing and supervising
children’s activities and whereabouts (Dishion & McMahon, 1998) and requiring
conformity to family and community norms (Amato & Fowler, 2002). Parental
monitoring is the greater parental knowledge of the adolescent’s activities. Such
knowledge may be a proxy, for parent-adolescent closeness and this reflect
enhanced channels of communication of parental values and skills.
Stattin and Kerr (2000) observed and considered monitoring (tracking and
surveillance) of child’s behaviour as an essential parenting skill. Snyder and
Patterson (1987) suggest that parents must give an adolescent child a set of rules
about where they may go, with whom they may associate, and when they must be
at home and then ‘check up’ or track compliance with those rules, and take
effective disciplinary action when the rules are violated. The development of
social competence is facilitated by strong parental monitoring.
Adolescents learn to develop social competency through observation or
responding appropriately to social cues (Harris, Friedlander, Saddler, Frizzelle, &
Graham, 2005). Adolescents who are well monitored and maintained positively
connected relationships with their parents, based on cohesion, supportiveness and
mutual reciprocity, report that they are more capable of making autonomous
decisions (Harris et al., 2005). Thus, adolescents’ autonomy, confidence and social
competence appears to be supported by maintaining positive relationships with
their parents, rather than being either staunchly independent or needy and
dependent. Granting more autonomy, monitoring adolescents’ activities and
friendships, talking with them and providing warm, supportive and secure
relationships provides the necessary family context for adolescents’ social
competence to flourish.
Also in this study gender as one of the variables were also emphasied and
how it correlates to adolescents’ social competence. Gender as a concept refers to
the fundamental physical and biological characteristics based distinction of human
being into masculine and feminine. Research has indicated that gender differences
occur across a variety of student groups and motivational attributes (Wolters &
Pintrich, 1998). Amongst seventh and eighth grade students, female students have
been found to report higher cognitive strategy use scores than male students
(Wolters & Pintrich, 1998). Similarly, male academic self-efficacy scores have
been found to be significantly higher than female scores using a university
undergraduate sample of students (Pajares & Miller, 1994).
However, several researchers have suggested that gender differences exist
in social-cognitive functioning. For example, studies conducted with preschool
children have indicated that there may be important gender differences in the ways
in which children think about social problems and solve interpersonal conflicts
(Miller, Danaher, & Forbes, 1986; Musun-Miller, 1993; Walker, Irving, &
Berthelsen, 2002). That girls seem to be more competent overall in determining
the intentions of others and in generating effective solutions to social problems
(Putallaz, Hellstern, Sheppard, Grimes, & Glodis, 1995) might suggest that they
are more intuitive than boys are. Charman, Ruffman, and Clements (2002) found
weak gender differences in false-belief understanding for the younger cohorts in
their sample of 3 to 5 year old children, provided some support for this
Statement of the problem
Adolescent is a transitional period from childhood into adulthood. It is a state in
life that is marked with a lot of challenges ranging from physical, intellectual,
emotional to social challenges. Social competence is not an exception; it is also a
remarkable challenge likely to be facing adolescents in the society today. Social
competence is a key factor needed in an adolescent’s life to help him or her
effectively cope and perform efficiently in everyday real life situations. Social
competence could be influenced by many variables but the interest of this study is
to specifically provide answers to the following questions:
1. Will religiosity significantly predict social competence among
secondary school adolescents?
2. Will parental monitoring significantly predict social competence among
secondary school adolescents?
3. Will gender significantly predict social competence among secondary
school adolescents?
Purpose of the study
Specifically, the purpose of this study is to examine whether:
1. Religiosity will significantly predict social competence among secondary
school adolescents
2. Parental monitoring will significantly predict social competence among
secondary school adolescents
3. Gender will significantly predict social competence among secondary
school adolescents
Operational Definition of Terms
Social competence: Social competence in this study refers to an adolescent’s
ability to cope with, and perform effectively in everyday real life situations as
measured by the Social Competence-Teen Survey (SCTS) (Child Trends for
Templation Foundation, 2010).
Adolescence: Eya (2001) is a period within the ages of 12 to 17 years old when
the individual is approaching sexual maturity and is getting ready to accept the
role and responsibility of adulthood.
Religiosity: Religiosity in this study refers to state of being superficially religious
or excessively involved in religious activities as measured by Religious Affiliation
Scale (Omoluabi, 1995).
Parental monitoring: In this study, parental monitoring is conceptualized as a set of
correlated parenting behaviours involving attention to and tracking of the
adolescent’s whereabouts, activities, and adaptations as measured by Parental
Monitoring Measure (Small & Kerns,