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Children's Perceptions of Peer Reputations and Their Social Reputations among Peers

Fred A. Rogosch and Andrew F. Newcomb
Child Development
Vol. 60, No. 3 (Jun., 1989), pp. 597-610
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130726
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130726
Page Count: 14
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Children's Perceptions of Peer Reputations and Their Social Reputations among Peers
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Abstract

The influence of social and cognitive developmental processes on the construction of social reputation was assessed by having first-, third-, and fifth-grade (mean age of 7-0, 8-11, and 10-11, respectively) boys and girls (N = 182), identified as to sociometric status, provide free descriptions of their classmates. These descriptions were aggregated by subject (descriptions made by a child) and by target (descriptions made about a child). Discriminant analyses revealed that rejected children were segregated from their peers by negative attitudes and peer ostracism; this social reputation was more distinct for older rejected children than younger rejected children. In contrast, neglected children were perceived in less distinctive reputational terms but, unlike rejected children, were notable for perceiving peers differently. Older children were more likely than younger children to describe the reputations of their peers with complex trait concepts. Sex differences included the following: rejected boys were perceived as having characteristics polar opposite to accepted qualities for girls, whereas rejected girls were perceived as having characteristics polar opposite to acceptable qualities for boys. The social implications of cognitive developmental change and the developmental implications of social differentiation among peers were discussed.

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