Examining the utility of a new caregiver-completed social emotional assessment, the Social Emotional Assessment Measure, with diverse low-income parent-toddler dyads
Ivey-Soto, Mona C., 1979-
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Ivey-Soto, Mona C., 1979-
Early social emotional competence has been linked to school readiness, decreased challenging behaviors, and positive relationships with family and peers. Despite this compelling research, more young children are displaying increasingly challenging behaviors and poor social emotional outcomes, often linked to factors associated with poverty. An important component in addressing this issue is programmatic implementation of high quality, practitioner- and family-friendly assessment measures. It is critical that young children who may be at risk for early mental health concerns be identified early and the necessary interventions and goals be established to ensure that healthy relationships and positive behaviors result. The Social Emotional Assessment IV Measure (SEAM) is a new parent/caregiver-completed assessment measure that identifies key components necessary in assessing social emotional competence. This descriptive study closely examines the utility of the Toddler SEAM within a low income, diverse sample. The Toddler SEAM was tested with 50 diverse low-income parents/caregivers in order to establish baseline data and provide researchers with important feedback regarding the psychometric properties of SEAM. One hundred percent of study participants indicated that the SEAM is a beneficial measure and would be an important tool for themselves and other parents who want to learn more about children's social emotional development. Forty-eight participants (96%) felt that SEAM items were useful in teaching them more about their child's social emotional development. Forty-four participants (88%) felt that SEAM items were clear and easy to understand. Qualitative feedback was gathered regarding methods by which to improve SEAM items (i.e., wording, content) in order to make it more parent-friendly and comprehensive. The Toddler SEAM was also compared with the ASQ:SE, a social emotional screening tool with established reliability and validity within risk and non-risk populations. Correlations between the ASQ:SE 18-, 24-, 30- and 36-month intervals and the Toddler SEAM were all significant (p < .05). Internal consistency was high with a Cronbach's alpha level of .92, indicating that the SEAM is likely measuring the unitary construct of social emotional development.