Title

The relationship between sociometric status, social withdrawal, and internalizing problems in children

Date of Award

1990

Availability

Article

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Committee Member

Annette La Greca, Committee Chair

Abstract

The present study investigated the relationship between social status and internalizing problems (operationalized as high levels of internal distress and low levels of positive self-perceptions) in elementary school-aged children. Specifically, popular, average, neglected, and rejected children were compared on social anxiety, depression, loneliness, and perceived social acceptance, global self-worth and social support. In addition, social withdrawal and perceived importance of social acceptance were assessed. It was hypothesized that children classified as low social status (neglected or rejected) and socially withdrawn would report higher levels of internalizing problems than children classified on the basis of one or neither criteria. It was also hypothesized that neglected children who reported a greater discrepancy between perceived social acceptance and its importance would report more internalizing problems than neglected children whose perceived social acceptance was more congruent with perceived importance. Fourth through sixth grade children (n = 517) completed the following measures: Social Anxiety Scale for Children-Revised (SASC-R); Children's Depression Inventory; Loneliness Questionnaire; Perceived Social Acceptance and Global Self-Worth subscales of the Self-Perception Profile for Children, including ratings of social importance; Close Friend subscale of the Social Support Scale for Children (SSSC); and sociometric measures. The results revealed a relationship between peer rejection and high levels of internalizing problems (Fear of Negative Evaluation (FNE) and Generalized Social Avoidance and Distress (SADG) subscales of the SASC-R, depression, loneliness, perceived social acceptance, and perceived social support). When levels of achievement were controlled, the results for social status group differences were maintained for FNE, loneliness, perceived social acceptance, and perceived social support. Subsequently, children were classified on the basis of sociometric status and teacher-rated social withdrawal. Socially withdrawn children who were low in social status reported more SADG, loneliness, and less perceived social acceptance and perceived social support than children who were just withdrawn or low in status. Finally, neglected children who perceived social acceptance as being very important relative to their perceived social acceptance reported higher levels of internalizing problems than neglected children whose perceived social acceptance and its importance were more congruent.

Keywords

Psychology, Social; Psychology, Clinical

Link to Full Text

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