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A Behavioral Analysis of Emerging Social Status in Boys' Groups

John D. Coie and Janis B. Kupersmidt
Child Development
Vol. 54, No. 6 (Dec., 1983), pp. 1400-1416
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1129803
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129803
Page Count: 17
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A Behavioral Analysis of Emerging Social Status in Boys' Groups
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Abstract

4 fourth-grade boys, each different social status types-rejected, popular, neglected, and average-met in play groups once a week for 6 weeks. 5 groups were of boys from the same classroom, and 5 of the boys were from 4 different schools. Within 3 sessions, social status in the groups was highly correlated with school-based status for boys from both familiar and unfamiliar groups. Observations of behavior coded from videotapes revealed significant distinctive patterns of social interaction for the social status types. Rejected boys were extremely active and aversive, but no more physically aversive than average boys, although group members perceived rejected boys as starting fights. Popular boys engaged in more norm setting and were more prosocial in the unfamiliar groups. Although neglected boys were the least interactive and aversive, they were more visible and active in the unfamiliar group and seemed most affected by the new social context. The findings underscore the importance of distinguishing between behaviors associated with the emergence of social status in contrast to those associated with the maintenance of social status.

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