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Social Networks of Popular, Average, and Rejected Children in School Settings

Gary W. Ladd
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly
Vol. 29, No. 3, Invitational Issue: Popular, Rejected, and Neglected Children: Their Social Behavior and Social Reasoning (July 1983), pp. 283-307
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23086263
Page Count: 25
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Social Networks of Popular, Average, and Rejected Children in School Settings
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Abstract

Evidence from studies conducted in classrooms and analogue settings suggests that popular and unpopular children form their own unique subsystems and that their interactions with peers differ in quality. The present study was designed to assess the behaviors and peer networks of popular, average, and rejected children in a larger and more diverse social setting. Based on sociometric measures administered in each classroom at two elementary schools, 48 third and fourth graders were selected to represent each sociometric membership group and then observed during mixed-grade recess periods. Analysis of children's behaviors indicated that rejected children spent less time in prosocial interactions and more time in agonistic and unoccupied behaviors than did popular or average children and paralleled average children in time spent watching others play. Analyses of various network measures revealed that a larger proportion of rejected children's interactions, as compared to those of popular and average children, was conducted in small groups and distributed among younger and/or unpopular companions. Popular and average children were also named as friends by a greater proportion of their frequent playground companions, and tended to have networks that were more cliquish or comprised of mutual friends.

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