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Abstract

The development of competence was studied in a longitudinal sample of 98 children, with measurement points when the children were 7, 10, and 12 years old. Competence was defined in terms of adequate adaptation to developmental tasks, both on a general and on a domain-specijic level. The general form of competence was measured by ego-resiliency, reflecting fexibility and ability to solve developmental problems Domain-specific competencies were measured by school achievement and social preference. The results showed that ego-resiliency was related to the two domain-specific competencies, although the hypothesized causal direction from general competence to specific competencies was not supported. Both domain-specific competencies were found to have a feedback effect on ego-resiliency. This feedback effect was stronger for social preference. These results suggest a transactional relationship between general and domain-specific competencies, and point to the importance of domain-specific competencies (especially social preference by the peer group) in the development of general competence in the child.