Evaluating the psychometric quality of social skills measures: A systematic review

Reinie Cordier, Renée Speyer, Yu Wei Chen, Sarah Wilkes-Gillan, Ted Brown, Helen Bourke-Taylor, Kenji Doma, Anthony Leicht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction Impairments in social functioning are associated with an array of adverse outcomes. Social skills measures are commonly used by health professionals to assess and plan the treatment of social skills difficulties. There is a need to comprehensively evaluate the quality of psychometric properties reported across these measures to guide assessment and treatment planning. Objective To conduct a systematic review of the literature on the psychometric properties of social skills and behaviours measures for both children and adults. Methods A systematic search was performed using four electronic databases: CINAHL, PsycINFO, Embase and Pubmed; the Health and Psychosocial Instruments database; and grey literature using PsycExtra and Google Scholar. The psychometric properties of the social skills measures were evaluated against the COSMIN taxonomy of measurement properties using pre-set psychometric criteria. Results Thirty-Six studies and nine manuals were included to assess the psychometric properties of thirteen social skills measures that met the inclusion criteria. Most measures obtained excellent overall methodological quality scores for internal consistency and reliability. However, eight measures did not report measurement error, nine measures did not report crosscultural validity and eleven measures did not report criterion validity. Conclusions The overall quality of the psychometric properties of most measures was satisfactory. The SSBS-2, HCSBS and PKBS-2 were the three measures with the most robust evidence of sound psychometric quality in at least seven of the eight psychometric properties that were appraised. A universal working definition of social functioning as an overarching construct is recommended. There is a need for ongoing research in the area of the psychometric properties of social skills and behaviours instruments.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0132299
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Early online date7 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


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