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Title:Social Knowledge and Sociometric Status: Children's Goals and Strategies for Peer Interaction
Author(s):Renshaw, Peter D.
Department / Program:Education
Discipline:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Education, Educational Psychology
Abstract:Previous interview studies using hypothetical social situations have shown that the social knowledge of low-status children differs from that of high-status children in subtle but significant ways. Low-status children's ideas are inappropriately negative, and appear less likely to build and maintain positive peer relationships. The present study extended previous research on children's social knowledge in two ways. First, two aspects of social knowledge were distinguished--knowledge of social goals, and knowledge of social strategies. Previous research had examined only children's knowledge of social strategies. Second, a general framework was developed to content analyze children's goals and strategies across four social situations: initiating contact with peers; gaining entry to ongoing peer interaction; maintaining friendships; and responding to disruptive peer behavior. The general framework employed the dimensions of friendliness and assertiveness to describe the types of strategies and goals children suggested.
In assessing children's goals and strategies a production task and a recognition task were used. In the production task children were presented with the four situations twice. At the first presentation (Probe 1) the situations were ambiguous in that no explicit goal was provided. At this presentation children's goals and strategies were elicited. At the second presentation (Probe 2) the situations included an explicit friendly-assertive goal, and children's strategies for achieving that goal were elicited. The recognition task was used to assess children's judgments on appropriate goals for the four situations. Children were provided with a choice of four goals for each situation: friendly-assertive, unfriendly-assertive, friendly-submissive, and unfriendly-submissive, and were asked to rank-order the four goal types for each situation.
One hundred and twenty-one third- through sixth-grade children participated in the study. The sociometric status of the children was assessed using a rating-scale procedure. High-status children were designated as children above the class average, and low-status children were those below the class average. Two levels of age were created by grouping together third and fourth graders and fifth and sixth graders.
Children's strategies and goals for the four hypothetical social situations were content analyzed in terms of the general dimensions of friendliness and assertiveness. The content analysis revealed five types of strategies and goals: high friendly-high assertive (Type 1), high friendly-neutral assertive (Type 2), neutral friendly-high assertive (Type 3), neutral friendly-low suggestions (Type 4) and low friendly-high assertive (Type 5). Children's suggestions of these five types of strategies and goals were entered as the dependent variables in a series of MANOVAS; and the independent variables were Age (2), Sociometric Status (2), and Sex (2).
The recognition task suggested that all the sub-groups of children included in this study preferred friendly goals to unfriendly goals. The production task, however, revealed differences in both goals and strategies due to Age, Sociometric Status, and Sex. In general, older children suggested more friendly and less hostile goals than the younger group, and were more sophisticated in the types of friendly and assertive strategies that they suggested. High-status children suggested more friendly-outgoing goals and strategies than low-status children, and appeared more confident and positive in their approach to problematic situations. Males were somewhat more hostile than females in their strategies, although overall the Sex differences were small. The methodology of the study, then, was shown to be useful in identifying different patterns of social goals and strategies in the sub-groups of children. Future research based on this approach to assessing children's social knowledge appears to be warranted.
Issue Date:1981
Type:Text
Language:English
Description:332 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/66056
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8127676
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1981


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