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
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.