Self-report measures of social problem solving abilities have yet to be associated with objective problem solving performance in any consistent manner. In the present study, we investigated the relation of social problem solving abilities - as measured by the Social Problem Solving Skills Inventory - Revised (SPSI-R [Maydeu-Olivares, A. and D'Zurilla, T. J. (1996). A factor analytic study of the Social Problem Solving Inventory: an integration of theory and data. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 20, 115-133]) - to performance on a structured problem solving task. Unlike previous studies, we examined the relation of problem solving skills to performance curves observed in repeated trials, while controlling for affective reactions to each trial. Using hierarchical modeling techniques, a negative problem orientation was significantly predictive of performance and this effect was not mediated by negative affectivity. Results are discussed as they pertain to contemporary models of social problem solving. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.