In particular, this paper is devoted to the analysis of the disadvantages and advantages of measuring an individual’s social skills with a self-report. In the field of addiction in substance abuse, social skills are viewed as a construct. For this type of construct, the method of assessment most appropriate to use in collecting objective measurement data is the use of self-report questionnaires. Making use of objective self reports or by simply asking an individual directly for information that relates to his or her social skills is advantageous in many ways. Noticeably, the questionnaire is alleged as central to measuring constructs.
Besides being easy to interpret, self reports are as well appropriate since they are very cheap and offer a considerably quicker way to collect a lot of data. Administration of personality inventories directly to an individual is also advantageous since scoring the results is very straightforward (Cohen and Swerdlik, 2010). Equally, data can be obtained from a larger number of participants at a given time. In addition, using questionnaires allow the individual to provide most accurate and informative information about his/her social skills. This is supported by the five factor theory of personality which postulated that people convey vast information about themselves via expression of enduring patterns (Cohen and Swerdlik, 2010). The information about such patterns can only be fully obtained if the individual provides the information himself/herself. This is only applicable through the use of self-questionnaire reports. Basically, no one else can access an individual’s information than oneself. Thus use of questionnaires enables participant to provide information in detail and with a lot of motivation. Similarly, respondents are highly motivated to talk about themselves more than others, and are able to identify with questions in manners that others may fail to. Therefore, self reports provide most accurate information that regards social skills (Cohen and Swerdlik, 2010).
Even though there are vast strengths of using questionnaire self reports in collecting objective measurement data for social skills, potential weaknesses are also available. Accordingly, the structure of a question influences whether reported information accurately measures social skills. For instance, an individual is likely to respond in a manner that favors them even if they don’t behave the same. It thus has potential errors with participants (Cohen and Swerdlik, 2010). Participants may as well give extreme responses which leads lack of data accuracy and validity. It may thus lack credibility which results from biased responding (Cronbach and Meehl, 1955). Besides, this measure is questioned with regards to its credibility. Does individuals know enough about themselves as purported by use of self reports to accurately report their own social skills? The assumption that respondents have access information self reports are built on is disadvantageous.
Cohen, R. J. and Swerdlik, M. E. (2010). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurement.7th ed. New York: McGraw Hill.
Cronbach, L. J. and Meehl, P. G. (1955). Construct Validity In Psychological Tests. Retrieved 27 Mar. 2012 from http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Cronbach/construct.htm