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Print version ISSN 2219-7168

Comuni@cción vol.11 no.1 Puno Jan-Jun 2020 

Original article

Resilience and social skills in high school students of San Luis de Shuaro, La Merced

Sharon Stefany Sosa Palacios1  a

Edwin Salas-Blas1  2  b

1 Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (UPC), Lima, Peru

2 University of San Martín de Porres (USMP), Lima, Peru


The objective of the study was to study the relationship between resilience and social skills, 212 students from four state-run secondary schools belonging to the San Luis de Shuaro district, located in the central Peruvian jungle, participated; they study in different grades, from the first to the fifth grade of secondary school, their ages range between 11 and 20 years old, 52% men. The instruments that were used were the Resilience Scale for Adolescents of Prado & Del Águila (2003) and the Goldstein Social Skills Check List, standardized by Tomás & Lescano (2003). It was found that resilience correlates positively with the dimensions of social skills checklist, specifically high correlations were obtained with the dimensions: Skills against stress, communication skills, planning skills, alternative skills to violence and feelings-related skills. When comparing the results by gender, significant differences in planning skills were also found, with women scoring higher.

Keywords: resilience; social skills; secondary education; San Luis de Shuaro


Adolescence is a stage of great and rapid changes at the physical, cognitive, emotional and social levels; At this stage, the family, the school and the community are important social supports against the risks that could affect the process of their development: violence, unwanted pregnancies, dysfunctional families, bullying, drug use, among others (Borrás, Reynaldo and López, 2017). An impoverished and negative social environment hinders and limits the development capacities of adolescents, but some overcome these unfavorable conditions and transform it into advantages. Vera-Bachman (2015) reports that resilience in educational contexts in rural areas where challenging living conditions exist, favors learning and reduces school dropout; and, allows the consequences of marginality, poverty and exclusion to be overcome. Jiménez (2018) argues that resilience is essential for adolescent adaptation to their environment, and that in Peru there are different risk factors that could truncate their successful development at this stage.

The San Luis de Shuaro district is considered by the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion [MIDIS] as one of the poorest at the national level (MIDIS, 2016), places it on a list of vulnerable populations that must be attended to through the Fund for Economic Inclusion in Rural Areas. In this district, adolescents experience numerous adversities, due to the fact that the town does not have the necessary resources for the execution of water and sanitation infrastructure, electrification, telecommunications and neighborhood roads, educational infrastructure, etc. There is evidence of a 12.9% delay in the education of children and adolescents, mainly at the secondary level, a fact that places this district as the second most problematic in the region (Ministry of Education of Peru [MINEDU], 2019a), a problem that coexists with family and sexual violence. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics, in 2011 there were 3,517 cases registered and in 2013 it increased to 3,898, these situations negatively affect the emotional, social and cognitive development of minors (Alcázar and Ocampo, 2015). Another fact that is related to the study problem is school bullying; in 2016, 380 cases were registered in Junín and in 2019 it increased to 1,269 (MINEDU, 2019b). The victims are fragile children and adolescents, with low self-esteem, feelings of inferiority, unable to defend themselves against physical, verbal or social abuse (González, 2015).

These adversities experienced by adolescents in San Luis de Shuaro, could be determining an inadequate cognitive, emotional and social development, affecting their social skills, as well as their ability to resist adversity. For this reason, it is vital to understand the facts of reality and on that basis, carry out actions to face them, seeking strengths between personal and cultural factors that could be considered favorable (Ortega and Mijares, 2018).

Even though resilience is an old concept, which appeared more than 35 years ago (Gonzáles-Arratia, 2016; Vanistendael and Saavedra, 2015), it is still in force today; it refers to the capacity of resistance that a person has to not yield to the action of unfavorable external agents, face them positively and overcome them (Gonzáles-Arratia, 2016; Ortega and Mijares, 2018); Resilience arises from situations that generate great impact, collective or personal, that could be part of everyday experiences. Infante (2002) and Grotberg (2006) agree in pointing out that it is a dynamic process where the influence of the environment and the individual interact, allowing the person to adapt despite the current adversity; It is not the ability to deny the existence of a problem, wound or pain that is experienced, but to face it, overcome it, and even transform it into a positive factor that will avoid harm to the person. Huertas (2017) adds that adversity strengthens more than overprotection from danger, since it allows people to achieve high levels of competence and health; reason why Cardozo (2008) argues that it is necessary to promote the development of social, cognitive and emotional skills to successfully face the challenges.

Social skills are a set of verbal and non-verbal responses learned and issued by an individual in an interpersonal context where he expresses his feelings, attitudes, wishes and opinions or exercises his rights in a way that is relevant and appropriate to the situation; respecting others, a fact that generally solves immediate problems while minimizing the possibility of future problems (Alvarado, 2018; Caballo, 2000). Social skills are acquired, sustained or modified by a process of positive reinforcement, by the social consequences of the behavior itself; In this learning process both intrinsic factors (cognitive and emotional processes) and extrinsic factors (consequences of behavior, the cultural environment in general) and mainly the interaction between both play an important role (Huertas, 2017).

Adolescents' resilience is a promoter of productive and healthy development, they need to learn social skills from desirable social norms and behaviors (Pichardo, Justicia and Fernández, 2009; Salgado, 2005). Resilience and social skills can reduce the harmful effect of harmful environments, prevent psychological problems that affect mental health and the social environment itself, favoring the healthy and successful development of adolescents (Steinberg and Morris, 2001). Cardozo, Cortés, Cueto, Meza and Iglesias (2013) and Corchado, Díaz-Aguado and Martínez (2017), found that adolescents living in risky conditions (drug abuse, dysfunctional families, neglect, abandonment, poverty and forced displacement of their homes) show resilient factors to stand out favorably; López (2015) reports similar results, and, Márquez, Verdugo, Villarreal and Sigales (2016) found that among adolescent victims of violence, women are more resilient than men.

Ikesako and Miyamoto (2015) and Alvarado (2018) argue that in the face of the various challenges and risks currently experienced, the family, the school and the state have the responsibility to promote the development of social and emotional skills to adequately face them; its role is to promote certain values and capacities such as perseverance, communication, solidarity and self-esteem, which will allow the development of better learning environments for the successful development of the adolescent. Coronel, Levin and Mejail (2011) point out that having pro-social behaviors benefits the development of self-esteem and psychological well-being, while inhibiting maladaptive interaction styles such as aggressiveness, emotional lack of control and social isolation (Ingles, Martinez-Gonzalez, Torregrosa, Garcia-Fernandez and Ruiz, 2012). Peréz (2015) refers that acquiring and developing social skills is an important resource for social integration and adaptation.

A study made by Bolaños and Jara (2016) found that families able to provide an adequate family environment for their members find it easier to develop resilient behavior, healthy social skills and protectors to face adversities; Velezmoro (2018) found positive and low correlations between resilience and family cohesion. Likewise, Fleming (2005) related social skills with resilience and showed that adolescents have the power to freely express their attitudes, emotions and behaviors, because they could communicate their state of mind. Likewise, Cardozo, Dubini, Fantino and Ardiles (2011) found that adolescents who show greater consideration for others, show greater empathy, a fact that favors their adaptation and socialization in their environment. Arboleada, Del Carmen, Segura and Edit (2012), Matos and Mónica (2014) and Fuentes (2013), related resilience with social skills, finding that there is a significant positive relationship between them. However, in the studies carried out by Donayre (2016) and Landauro (2015) this relationship was not confirmed.

It can be affirmed that resilience and social skills are fundamental in the socio-emotional development of the human being, since they allow the person to adapt to their environment and successfully face adverse events that arise in human interaction (Dascanio et al., 2015; Donayre, 2016; Zolkoski and Bullock, 2012). For this reason, the present study is relevant insofar as it will allow us to contribute to the existing discrepancies in the literature regarding the relationships between the two concepts; It is novel regarding the group chosen to investigate, adolescents from a very poor Andean area. On the other hand, the results obtained may help the educational institutions studied, or others with characteristics similar to the sample studied, to find out how resilience and social skills are found in adolescents in this type of population with limitations and adversities.

The objective of the study is to relate resilience and social skills in adolescents from 12 to 17 years of age in San Luis de Shuaro, La Merced, and also seeks to compare the research variables through gender and the constitution of the family with that of the adolescent lives.


The study is associative, with a predictive design (Ato, López & Benavente, 2013), which has traditionally been called correlational (Hernández-Sampieri & Mendoza, 2018)


In this study participated 212 adolescents from four schools in the San Luis de Shuaro district, they do it voluntarily and with the permission of their parents and school administrations, 52% are men, distributed among all secondary levels (fifth grade = 21.3%, fourth grade = 21%, third grade = 15.7%, second grade = 20.8%, and, of the first year = 21.2%); they live with both parents (68.5%), with one of them (24.5%) and they live with some other relative (5.1%); the sampling was non-probabilistic (Hernández-Sampieri and Mendoza, 2018) and the inclusion criteria were: born in this district, living with relatives; and, that they study at the secondary level of one of the schools of San Luis de Shuaro. Those with severe intellectual difficulties and those who repeated the school year at some point in secondary school were excluded. Samples from each school were selected according to the size of their population.


Resilience Scale for Adolescents (Prado and Del Águila, 2000)

Built and validated to assess resilient behavior in adolescents, it has 34 items that were grouped into seven components: Insight (1, 3, 9, 15, 30), Independence (22, 29, 32, 33), Interaction (19, 20 , 21, 24, 26), Morality (14, 16, 17, 18, 28), Humor (8, 11, 12, 13, 34), Initiative (6, 10, 23, 25, 27), and, Creativity (2, 4, 5, 7, 31); It is a Likert scale with grades: Rarely (1 point), Sometimes (2 points), Often (3 points) and Always (4 points), it can be applied individually or collectively in approximately 30 minutes. The authors reported a reliability for internal consistency of Cronbach's Alpha, with a coefficient of .86, highly significant; used the item-test discrimination correlation analysis, whose results range from .201 to .508, an indicator that all items contribute to the measurement of resilience.

In this study, the internal structure of the scale was analyzed with the exploratory factor analysis technique (AFE) in the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) test, reaching .75 (KMO> 70), which confirm a high intercorrelation between the factors, a significant value was found in the Barlett sphericity test (χ² = 1501.95, p <. 001). Then a confirmatory factor analysis (AFC, Pardo and Ruiz, 2002) was applied with the method of extraction of main axes with promax rotation and several analyzes were proposed, in the first one it was suggested to extract 12 factors that together explained 41.75% of the total variance. Then with seven factors, as proposed by Prado and Del Águila (2000), in which it was found that these explain 31.20% of the total variance. However, when observing the factorial matrix produced by the promax rotation, a large dispersion of the items was found, two complex items and two factors with two items each, issues that are not recommended. Successive analyzes with 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2 factors were made, with similar results. Therefore, it was decided to analyze a single factor that explains 15.94% of the total variance of the instrument and the factor loads of the items range between .26 and .52. It is worth mentioning that before carrying out this last analysis, 4 items (7, 8, 9 and 32) were eliminated because they presented low factor loads (λ <.25).

With the measures taken from this unifactorial questionnaire, the Cronbach's alpha coefficient was calculated for the dimension obtained from the single Resilience factor and it was obtained .85, greater than the recommended minimum (Prieto and Delgado, 2010), the items presented corrected item-test correlations in a range of .24 and .48, above the recommended minimum of .20 (Kline, 1986).

Goldstein Social Skills Checklist

This instrument was created by Goldstein in 1978, initially had 50 items, grouped into six factors, aimed at recording deficiencies in the social skills of children and adolescents. It was standardized in Peru by Tomás and Lescano (2003), this is the version used in the present study, it is made up of 47 items grouped into 8 subscales: Skills against stress (1 to 10), communication skills (11, 18), planning skills (19 to 24), prosocial skills (25 to 28), alternative skills to violence (29 to 34), feelings related skills (35 to 39), proamical skills (40 al 44) and skills against anxiety (45 al 47). It can be applied individually or collectively, the average application time is 20 minutes, the responses are ordered on a Likert scale with the following values: Never (0 points), Few times (2 points), Many times (5 points) and Always (7 points). They worked with 8,900 schoolchildren from 24 regions of the country, established a very complete AFC and determined a reliability coefficient of .916 using the Cronbach's Alpha internal consistency method.

In the present study, the internal structure was analyzed with the AFE and it was found a dispersion of the items and complex items (which carry more than one factor), a fact that is not recommended, but the sample is relatively small compared to the one used in the Peruvian validation process carried out by Tomás and Lescano (2003), it was decided to continue using this eight-factor version despite the detected drawbacks. Likewise, the alpha coefficients for each dimension were calculated, obtaining results similar to those of the referred authors: Skills against stress .74, Communication skills .74, Planning skills .67, Prosocial skills .55, Alternative skills to violence .74, Feeling skills .68, Proamical skills .62, and skills against Anxiety .61.


The corresponding permits were requested from the authorities of the four educational centers of the San Luis de Shuaro district, they were explained about the importance of the study and the contribution that research could have in educational management and its usefulness for teachers. After obtaining the permission of all the educational centers, each director was discussed to establish a schedule for the application and data collection that was carried out in the environments of the schools themselves.

Since neither of the two instruments had been validated in the population of San Luis de Shuaro, a pilot study was carried out with the aim of confirming the compression of the items and determining whether adjustments (especially linguistic) were necessary in them. This process was carried out with the participation of 35 adolescents from one of the schools; sample made up of men and women, 12 to 17 years old. Previously, the parents of the students were asked for their informed consent and the students for their Informed Consent.

The instruments were applied in four days, on dates and times coordinated with those in charge of the educational centers, with the consent of the students themselves, they were asked to fill out the sociodemographic form and the two respective questionnaires.

The database was developed with the SPSS Statistics v22 program, which allowed obtaining the validity evidence associated with the analysis of the internal structure of the instruments used for the investigation, applying the AFE and the AFC, then the analysis of reliability by internal consistency of the two instruments, the measurement of resilience by factor analysis and that of social skills by calculating the Cronbach's alpha coefficient for which the reference value (> .70) was taken. Subsequently, descriptive analyzes were carried out, useful to make an analysis of the normality test with the Kolmogorov-Smirnov statistic (n> 50), through which the use of the Spearman non-parametric correlation test was defined with its respective confidence intervals to 95% and the Mann-Whitney U test to perform the comparative analysis.


Descriptive statistics show that the resilience variable shows that the sample as a whole reports relatively high levels, an average relatively closer (2.85) to the maximum test score (4). According to the dispersion analysis, it is observed that the scores obtained from the samples have been more homogeneous, since the coefficient of variation has been less than 30% (National Institute of Statistics and Census [INEC], 2013), it means closest to the average value.

Regarding the variable social skills, it is found that most adolescents use communication skills better, being this factor the one with the highest average score (M=2.08), followed by the means of planning skills factors (HDP=1.96) and stress facing abilities (HFE=1.86) these three factors are those that have more homogeneous scores, closer to the mean and with a coefficient of variation of less than 30% (INEC, 2013). It is also evident that there are relatively low scores on the one hand, and on the other hand, the means of all the factors are below the midpoint of the item rating (0 to 7 points). Likewise, it can be pointed out that the lowest means correspond to the subscales: feelings related skills (DRS) and proamical skills (HPA).

The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test reported that in the dimensions of the social skills variable there is an absence of normality in the distribution of scores (p <.05), on the contrary, in the resilience variable we did find normality in the only dimension (p> .05). With these results it was decided to use non-parametric tests; the Spearman test to study the correlation between the two research variables and the Mann-Whitney U test for comparisons.

Table 1 Descriptive statistics of the variables resilience and social skills 

Dimensión Min. Max. M DE CV
RS 1,50 3,73 2.85 ,43405 15.09%
HFE ,00 2,90 1.83 ,50344 27.49%
HDC ,00 3,00 2.08 ,51279 24.71%
HDP ,17 3,00 1.96 ,53181 27.05%
HP ,00 3,00 1.86 ,56885 30.55%
HAV ,00 3,00 1.73 ,59788 34.46%
HRS ,00 3,00 1.69 ,59392 35.09%
HPA ,00 3,00 1.71 ,55953 32.59%
HFA ,00 3,00 1.95 ,70849 36.43%

Note:RS=Resilience., HFE=Skills against stress., HDC=Communication skills., HDP=Planning skills., HP=Prosocial skills., HAV=Alternative skills to violence., HRS=Feeling related skills., HPA=Proamical skills., HFA=Skills against Anxiety

The analysis of the correlations with their respective 95% confidence intervals (Caruso and Cliff, 1997) of the one-dimensional variable of resilience and of the eight subscales of the social skills test, show that the resilience variable is positively and significantly associated with all dimensions of social skills. This means that a higher score on resilience is directly and proportionally associated with higher scores on the social skills test and vice versa.

Table 2. Correlation matrix of the variables resilience and social skills 

Dimension 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1.RS 1
2.HFE .72** [.64, .78]a 1
3.HDC .61** [.51, .69] .66** 1
4.HDP .61** [.51, .69] .63** .67** 1
5.HP .46** [.34, .56] .45** .58** .49** 1
6.HAV .51** [.40, .61] .58** .61** .58** .56** 1
7.HRS .52** [.41, .62] .54** .57** .53** .50** .59** 1
8.HPA .47** [.35, .57] .43** .46** .53** .44** .51** .58** 1
9.HFA .47** [.35, .57] .39** .50** .46** .37** .54** .46** .43** 1

Note:RS=Resilience., HFE=Skills against stress., HDC=Communication skills., HDP=Planning skills., HP=Prosocial skills., HAV=Alternative skills to violence., HRS=Feeling related skills., HPA=Proamical skills., HFA=Skills against Anxiety

a. IC 95%


Although all the correlations have statistical significance, the only relationship that could be considered strong is the one that corresponds to resilience and the skills factor against stress (HFE) that has a coefficient of .72, the others are between .46 (HP) and .61 relating RS to HDC and HDP, which could be considered moderate.

Likewise, comparative analyzes were performed using the Mann-Whitney U test, to determine if there were statistical differences between the two research variables (resilience and social skills), depending on the gender and composition of the family with which the adolescent lives (with their two parents, with one of the parents, with relatives who are not their parents). Regarding the resilience variable, no statistical differences were found between the means of men and women, and no differences were found based on who the adolescent lives with.

Regarding the social skills variable, no statistical differences were found between adolescents living with their two parents, with one of them, or with relatives who are not their parents. When social skills were compared by gender, only statistically significant differences in planning skills (HDP) were found (p <.05), indicating that women had greater planning skills than men. In the other factors of the test, no statistically significant differences were found (p> .05)

Table 3. Comparison of the dimensions of resilience and social skills by gender 

Variable Men Women U Sig.
RS 2.89 0.44 2.82 0.43 5142.5 .30
HFE 1.82 0.50 1.85 0.51 5494.5 .80
HDC 2.00 0.53 2.15 0.48 4692.5 .07
HDP 1.91 0.54 2.03 0.52 4815.5 .03
HP 1.75 0.55 1.98 0.57 4288.5 .45
HAV 1.70 0.60 1.78 0.59 5271.0 .20
HRS 1.65 0.59 1.74 0.59 5041.5 .76
HPA 1.70 0.58 1.74 0.54 5475.5 .15
HFA 1.88 0.70 2.02 0.72 5142.5 .40

Note:RS=Resilience., HFE=Skills against stress., HDC=Communication skills., HDP=Planning skills., HP=Prosocial skills., HAV=Alternative skills to violence., HRS=Skills related to feelings., HPA=Proamical skills., HFA=Skills against anxiety.

M=Mean., DE=Standard Deviation.


A first data that was found about the internal structure of the instruments could be explained by the type of sample used in this study (secondary school students residing in the San Luis de Shuaro district, La Merced), different from that of the authors of the two questionnaires used (students from Lima). Result that could be explained by a set of cultural differences between the two types of samples, from socioeconomic levels, parenting styles and upbringing; as well as the differences between the activities they carry out and face, the academic level they have, etc. An important aspect that needs to be reported is the sample size that was used in this study, especially when compared to the sample used by Tomás and Lescano (2003).

The main hypothesis suggests that there is a positive correlation between resilience and social skills in adolescents from 12 to 17 years old, is proven due to the positive relationship of resilience with all the component factors of social skills, that is, the greater the resilience, the better skills social; This hypothesis has generally been verified as soon as it has been tested (Arboleada et al., 2012; Cardozo et al., 2011; Fleming, 2005; Fuentes, 2013; Matos and Mónica, 2014) and explains that the resilient characteristics of the Adolescents strengthen the development of their social skills and vice versa. Therefore, being resilient and having adequate social skills contributes to the healthy development of the adolescent, they will be able to face social, family and emotional difficulties that arise (MINSA, 2011). According to Benzies and Mychasiuk (2009) and Zolkoski and Bullock (2012) the presence of resilience and adequate social skills brings with it the strengthening of individuals at all levels: personal, family and community, in this case the interaction of the teenager with his medium is enhanced. However, some studies do not support the data of this research, such as those of Donayre (2016) and Landauro (2015) who did not find a significant relationship between both variables, a systematic review of this type of results would be necessary and the cause of conflicting results.

However, it is convenient to comment that in the relationships found between resilience and the subscales of the social skills test, there is only one relationship that could be assumed to be strong, it is the correlation between RS and HFE, the other correlations obtain moderate coefficients. This could be related to the relatively low scores (lower than the midpoint of the scale) that was observed for social skills. Fact that should be taken into account if it is intended to develop preventive actions and training of social skills in children and adolescents from populations with the characteristics of the district of San Luis de Shuaro.

With regard to resilience by gender, it was evident that the values ​​obtained in resilience do not differ due to the fact that they are women or men. This does not coincide with results reported by some background of the present study. Gonzales and Valdez (2011) and Márquez et al., (2016) reported evidence that women are more resilient than men; Prado and Del Aguila (2003) also found significant differences in the area of interaction, with higher scores for women; results that agree with those reported by Peña (2009) who found that women have greater social competence than men, since they can express their emotions and thoughts with greater tenacity, a fact that helps them to be more empathetic and assertive during the interaction with others, and therefore achieve their goals and resolve their conflicts more effectively. These contradictory results with the present study can be explained, at least partially, by the difference between the samples used by the predecessors, who used students from the capital or large cities, places where the influence of social, economic and cultural variables they are radically different.

On the other hand, in reference to social skills, in this study it was evidenced that there are significant differences according to gender in relation to the values obtained in planning ability (HDP), which agrees with the results found by Fuentes (2013) who highlights This ability as one of the most important of all the skills proposed by Goldstein, and maintains that it is the most positive and significant to obtain resilient characteristics.

Among some of the limitations that can be considered in this study are, on the one hand, the fact that the sample was recruited in a small district of the Peruvian jungle (San Luis de Shuaro, La Merced province) does not allow us to generalize data to other types of populations; likewise, the sample size is relatively small to discuss the internal structure of the instruments, an issue that was fully evidenced in the case of social skills. On the other hand, working with questionnaires that allow self-observation does not always allow dealing with objective responses, which could lead to biases; to which must be added the uncontrolled presence of social desirability among the participants and other social and cultural factors that have not even been attempted to be controlled by the very nature of the study.


There is a positive and significant correlation between resilience and social skills in adolescents from 12 to 17 years of age in San Luis de Shuaro, La Merced, that is, the greater the resilience, the better the social skills. Regarding the comparative objectives, no statistical differences were found in the resilience factor according to gender; When comparing the factors of social skills by gender, significant values were only found in planning skills, a skill that is more pronounced in women. When the fact with which adolescents live (with only one of the parents, with both, or with relatives who are not their parents) is used as a comparison criterion, it is determined that this factor does not generate differences in resilience or social skills.

It is important to carry out new psychometric studies to validate the internal structure of both instruments, especially with provincial populations (from the coast, the mountains and the jungle), consider the possibility of creating or adapting psychological tests for populations that are outside from the Peruvian capital. Likewise, the development of investigations with mixed methodologies is recommended, to obtain results that allow more detailed and precise analyzes. On the other hand, the low scores that the adolescents in this sample have in social skills, should be taken into account if you want to carry out preventive actions with this type of population, it would be necessary to influence the formation of social skills with more emphasis.


To the local authorities, school directors, parents and adolescents who enthusiastically supported us in the phase of data collection in the San Luis de Shuaro District.

Conflict of interests

The authors declare to have no conflict of interest of any kind


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Received: December 20, 2019; Accepted: April 15, 2020

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