To test a model of social competence in youth with spina bifida (SB). Involvement in social activities was expected to mediate associations between SB-related condition parameters (pain, body mass index, and motor function) and social competence. Internalizing symptoms were predicted to amplify the negative impact of condition parameters on social activity involvement. Methods 108 youth with SB, their caregivers, peers, and teachers participated in a multimethod study that included cognitive testing, questionnaires, and observational interaction tasks. Results Social activity involvement partially mediated the relation between pain and lower social competence. Internalizing symptoms had a significant indirect effect on social competence via decreased involvement in social activities. Conclusions Pain and internalizing symptoms interfere with social activity involvement, which is, in turn, important for social competence development in youth with SB. Assessing and treating these condition parameters and activity factors may be important areas of focus in clinical practice and research with these youth.
- social skills
- spina bifida
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology