Behavioral components of assertion: Comparison of univariate and multivariate assessment strategies

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46 21–57 year old adults were administered the Adult Self-Expression Scale and the Assertion Inventory and assessed on their role-played responses to 4 interpersonal situations. Univariate and multivariate analyses of behavioral observations obtained from Ss' participation in 3 assertion training programs (directed practice, free practice, and a placebo control group) were compared. It is noted that previous studies of assertion have not identified a consistent set of behaviors associated with judgments of assertive skill and that this inconsistency may reflect inappropriate use of multiple, univariate comparisons; problems with studies using multivariate analysis; or the influence of multicollinearity. Results show that while a global measure of assertion was consistently found to discriminate among S groups, discrimination function and univariate analyses failed to identify similar discrete behavioral markers. Behavioral components were also found to be highly intercorrelated. Factor analyses indicated that ratings of overall assertion included speech characteristics, speech content, and nonverbal behaviors. It is concluded that social skill assessment could be improved by the development of uncorrelated predictors of assertion and that global assertion ratings should be used when maximum discrimination between high- and low-assertion Ss is desired.