Research findings: This study explored the latent structure of socioemotional competence among Chinese kindergarten children in Hong Kong, China, developing and validating a culturally relevant, teacher-reported measure, the Chinese Inventory of Children’s Socioemotional Competence (CICSEC). Cross-sectional questionnaire data were collected on two samples of children from Hong Kong (N₁ = 1,731; N₂ = 475). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses revealed that, children’s socioemotional competence was best represented by a two-level, four-factor model, a model that was invariant across child gender and grade levels. Four first-level factors, cognitive control, emotion expressivity, empathy and prosocial behaviors, and emotion regulation, were identified, and they were subsumed under a second-level, overarching factor: socioemotional competence. CICSEC demonstrated many good psychometric properties: The entire scale and the four subscales exhibited excellent internal consistencies. Moreover, it demonstrated criterion validity by being correlated positively with school readiness and negatively with problem behaviors. It also demonstrated incremental validity by explaining unique variance in school readiness, above and beyond an existing measure of children’s socioemotional competence. Practice or policy: Findings pointed to the advantages of using culturally specific, locally derived measures in assessing socioemotional competence and understanding child adjustment. Copyright © 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
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