Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Lisbeth Pike

Second Advisor

Dr Paul Murphy


The acquisition of social competence is an important developmental task for children. This review examines how child effects and environmental effects contribute to children's achievement of social competence. Environmental factors are addressed through Bronfenbrenner's (1999) ecological systems model of the microsystem, mesosystem and exosystem, The microsystem includes the home environment with parent-parent, parent-child and sibling relationships. The mesosystem includes the school environment with peer and teacher relationships. Finally, the exosystem incorporates indirect environments such as parent work, economic status and the media. Issues of reciprocal effects are addressed and the suggestion is made that social competence is the result of a pattern of experiences rather than one or two major causes. It is recommended that future research focus on children's experiences that have lasting effects.