Social Adjustment and Personality Development in Children

Social Adjustment and Personality Development in Children

Merrill Roff
S. B. Sells
Mary M. Golden
Copyright Date: 1972
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Social Adjustment and Personality Development in Children
    Book Description:

    Social Adjustment and Personality Development in Children was first published in 1972. The authors report on an extensive research program designed to measure the social adjustment of children in the third through the sixth grades. Peer acceptance-rejection scores were obtained from pupils’ ratings of their classmates and teachers’ ratings of the peer status of children in their classes. Some 40,000 children, divided about equally between Texas and Minnesota, were the subjects. Intensive analyses of correlates of social adjustment were made, using samples of various kinds, and a four-year longitudinal study was carried out with sub-samples of about 4,000 pupils. Earlier studies by Merrill Roff had shown that peer rejection in children can be a precursor of later severe maladjustment. The present study reveals that peer rejection is not an isolated characteristic randomly distributed among the population but, rather, a factor tied to social forces of considerable generality and of major significance. The authors conclude that the child-oriented programs of enriched educational offerings and group activities, which enjoy current popularity among agencies concerned with underprivileged, disadvantaged, maladjusted, and delinquent youth, are focused on symptoms rather than on causes, and that their principal value may be only to buy time until fore fundamental measures, designed to attack the roots of the problems, can be instituted. The findings and conclusions of this study will be of interest to psychologists, social workers, educational specialists, sociologists, and others concerned with children in today’s society.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6419-1
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-2)
  3. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    This book describes a five-year program of research on the social adjustment of schoolchildren in the third through the sixth grades. The entire sample, including all those for whom some information was available, contained some 40,000 children, about equally divided between Texas and Minnesota. Smaller subsamples (about 5,000 pupils) were used for a four-year longitudinal study. The many correlates of social adjustment were studied with subsamples of various kinds. The measures of social adjustment used were, first, peer acceptance-rejection scores obtained from pupils’ choices of classmates and, second, teachers’ ratings of the peer status of children in their classes.


  4. 2 Procedures, Samples, and Scores
    (pp. 11-56)

    Detailed information on peer acceptance-rejection is not ordinarily found in school records, except perhaps for the small minority who are referred for psychological services. In planning data collection, four possible approaches were considered: observation, self-report, peer nominations, and teacher ratings. Observation reports, which describe actual instances of leadership and rejection in the classroom and on the playground, might have been obtained through teachers or project staff members. However, this would have been expensive. It would have run the risk of disturbing the “natural” social situation by the presence of strangers. It would still need to be quantified even when adequately...

  5. 3 Intercorrelations of Measures, Cross-Sectional and Over Time
    (pp. 57-72)

    It has long been known to those studying peer status that negative choices or scores are not the exact opposite of positive choices or scores. The positive and negative choice scores correlate about +.50 (when the LL scores have been reversed so that the greatest number of choices gets the lowest score). This less than perfect inverse correlation between positive and negative peer status indices means that these scores have somewhat different meanings. A complete absence of positive choices does not indicate whether the person involved is overlooked or actively rejected by the group. However, because of their definite relationship,...

  6. 4 Various Factors Relating to Peer Status
    (pp. 73-93)

    The central problem of this chapter concerns the relations between the peer status of children making choices and the peer status of the children they choose, on positive choices, negative choices, and a combination of a positive and negative choice. In terms of the research literature, this information relates to two somewhat different areas. The first of these is the somewhat heterogeneous set of reports having to do in one way or another with the perception of others. The second bears on the more technical problem of the use of matrices in deriving basic choice scores.

    Social Perception Studies.“Social...

  7. 5 Children with Spanish Surnames
    (pp. 94-109)

    The problem of the effect of differences in racial or ethnic background and peer acceptance-rejection is still of major interest many years after the first such study was made. In reviewing earlier work, Gronlund (1959) observes that, “Where racial cleavages exist in a community, these cleavages are reflected in children’s sociometric choices. However, where racial integration has been in effect for some time, children’s sociometric choices freely cross race lines. Older studies, by Moreno (1934) and Criswell (1939), have shown distinct cleavages between white and Negro children, with the members of both groups most frequently choosing companions from among their...

  8. 6 Peer Status and Background Factors
    (pp. 110-126)

    Three somewhat different approaches were followed to determine the relationship between family characteristics and the peer status of the children involved. The first makes use of the structured interview information which had been obtained in Minnesota about children and their families. Frequencies of occurrence of different family characteristics are examined for pupils who were high, average, and low in peer status; a breakdown is also made by socioeconomic status of the families. A second approach makes use of an open-end questionnaire for a sample of 685 Texas pupils, again comparing children of high and low peer status. The information obtained...

  9. 7 Family and Personality Characteristics and Peer Status
    (pp. 127-147)

    The data presented in this chapter have been selected by the authors from a doctoral thesis by Cox (1966) who was part of the project for several years. His study undertook an independent investigation within the general framework of the main peer relations study in order to determine the relationships to one another and to the child’s peerchoice scores of socioeconomic status, family background, parental child-rearing attitudes and practices, and characteristics of the child. No attempt has been made to cover everything he reports; the interpretations presented here are those of the authors, and Dr. Cox should not be held...

  10. 8 Peer Status and Juvenile Delinquency in Relation to Socioeconomic Status
    (pp. 148-171)

    Juvenile delinquency is one socially significant later behavior category which could be expected to be related to measures of peer acceptance-rejection. Other real-life categories of this kind include dropping out of school, treatment in a child guidance clinic, and eventually the presence of adult maladjustments of various kinds. Roff (1961b, 1963b, 1964, 1969) has shown that a record of delinquency is predictive of adult criminal behavior in only a minority of cases. However, the problem of the prediction of delinquency remains an important one from both a theoretical and practical point of view.

    Although the termjuvenile delinquencysounds definite,...

  11. 9 Summary
    (pp. 172-180)

    The primary aim of the work described in this book was the detailed analysis of the peer relations and peer status of children, including whatever concurrent correlations with other variables might be of interest and the longitudinal course of peer status and its relations to other socially important variables. Since some of these socially important variables might occur only infrequently, the basic research plan involved the use of a childhood sample large enough that we would have subsample sizes of some adequacy for follow-up studies. Another important feature of the research plan was the simultaneous study of schoolchildren drawn from...

  12. Appendix A. Instructions and Materials
    (pp. 183-188)
  13. Appendix B. Tables
    (pp. 189-192)
  14. References
    (pp. 195-200)
  15. Index
    (pp. 203-206)