Extraversion and social competence in New Zealand dairy farmers : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Extraverts are purportedly more socially competent than introverts, which may allow them greater access to social resources. As social support is a key predictor of individual resilience, this implies introverts are less resilient than extraverts. This descriptive research with New Zealand dairy farmers explored how extraversion-introversion was related to three factors of social competence: (a) social confidence, (b) social intelligence and (c) social skills. The study also analysed how social competence is defined by a commonly used measure of individual resilience, the Resilience Scale for Adults, and how the connection between extraversion and social competence influences access to social support. A concurrent nested design informed the collection of data via an online survey and the use of bivariate correlation, multiple regression and relational analyses. Social competence demonstrated a large positive relationship (r = .679-.747, p < .01) with extraversion except in relation to enjoying company, which suggests introversion is not associated with social disinterest. Extraversion had a particularly significant correlation with social confidence (r = .773, p < .01), which surpassed the associations with social skill (r = .645, p < .01) and social intelligence (r = .433, p < .01). A moderate positive correlation between extraversion and social support (r = .457, p < .01) was identified, yet this relationship appears to be mediated by social competence. The findings indicate introversion may be associated with low perceived social self-efficacy in novel social situations with unfamiliar social partners, not a lack of capability. Like extraversion, the Resilience Scale for Adults’ social competence subscale showed a larger relationship with social confidence (r = .628, p < .01) than social intelligence (r = .522, p < .01) and skill (r = .575, p < .01). Due to the small sample size (n = 56), the study is limited in its inferences.
Dairy farmers, New Zealand, Psychology, Extraversion, Introversion, Social skills, Resilience (Personality trait)