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Social Skills

  • By: R. T. Busse
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

Social skills are generally defined as socially accepted behaviors that result in desirable social outcomes. Although there is no specific agreed-upon definition, social skills most often are conceptualized as learned behaviors that:

  • Are comprised of discrete verbal and nonverbal behaviors
  • Require effective responsiveness to social situations
  • Are influenced by the social environment

For example, saying “Hello” and shaking hands when meeting someone are learned verbal and nonverbal behaviors that are demonstrated in reaction to meeting a new person. However, this response may not be appropriate in another culture. Therefore, the social skills involved in greeting someone require responsiveness to the social environment.

There are five major domains of social skills that emerge from the research on social behaviors:

  • Cooperation involves behaviors such as helping others, sharing, and complying with the ...
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