Social problem solving as a predictor of well-being in adolescents and young adults

Man Hong Andrew Siu, Tan Lei Shek

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Social problem solving is the cognitive-affective-behavioral process by which people attempt to resolve real-life problems in a social environment, and is of key importance in the management of emotions and well-being. This paper reviews a series of studies on social problem solving conducted by the authors. First, we developed and validated the Chinese version of the Social Problem-Solving Inventory Revised (C-SPSI-R) which demonstrated very good psychometric properties. Second, we identified the scope of stressful social situations faced by young adults and their self-efficacy in facing such situations (N = 179). Young adults were generally confident about their basic social skills but found it much more stressful to relate to family members, handle conflicts, handle negative behaviors from others, self-disclose to others, and to express love. Third, in two separate studies, we found that social problem solving was closely linked to measures of depression (n = 200), anxiety (n = 235), and family well-being (N = 1462). Measures of anxiety and depression were found to be significantly related to aspects of social problem solving in expected directions and expected strength. In another study, higher parental social problem solving behavior and lower avoidance behavior were found to be related to indicators of family well-being, including better overall family functioning, and fewer parent-adolescent conflicts. 2009.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-406
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Family functioning
  • Social problem solving
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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