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Title:Children's Goals and Social Competence: A Study of Individual Differences in A Game-Playing Context (Peer Relations, Sociometric Status)
Author(s):Taylor, Angela Reid
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Educational Psychology
Abstract:Previous definitions of social competence suggest that the process of goal construal is an important component of interpersonal competence. However, only recently have researchers begun to directly study children's social goals. The purpose of the present research was to examine the relationship between children's goals in game-playing situations and their sociometric status in the peer group. The research also explored the usefulness of a self-report measure for assessing children's goals in the game-playing context.
Five hundred twenty-nine third- through sixth-grade children responded to a 50-item questionnaire focusing on children's goals and concerns in game situations. Factor analysis revealed four goal types: performance goals (concerns with doing well at games), relationship goals (interest in having positive interpersonal relationships with others), avoidance goals (concerns with experiencing task or social failure), and rule-oriented goals (corncerns that the game get played fairly and by the rules). Subscales corresponding to the four goal types were found to have high internal consistency.
Results of the study revealed age, sex, and sociometric status differences in children's game-playing goals. Younger children and females were found to be less performance-oriented, more relationship-oriented, and more avoidant than older children and males. In addition, younger children were found to be more rule-oriented than older children. When children were classified into low- and high-status groups on the basis of scores on a sociometric rating-scale measure, significant group differences were found with low-status children being less relationship-oriented and more avoidant than high-status children. However, the status differences in children's goals tended to vary with age. The relationship orientation was associated with higher sociometric status for the younger children but was unrelated to status for the older children. Among the older children, there was a slight tendency for higher status to be associated with an orientation toward performance goals. Similar, but somewhat weaker, status effects were found when children were classified using scores on a friendship nomination measure. In addition, weak but significant relationships were found between the goals subscales and teacher ratings of children's social behavior with peers.
The present findings support the usefulness of a questionnaire method for assessing children's goals and suggest that popular and unpopular children have different goal orientations. Implications for future assessment and intervention research with unpopular children are discussed.
Issue Date:1984
Description:137 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1984.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8502314
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1984

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