The role of self monitoring in children's social status and social perception

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Charles S. Carver - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Annette M. LaGreca - Committee Member


Two studies examined self-monitoring tendencies in children as they may relate to (1) aspects of peer status and (2) the organization of knowledge about self and others. The Junior Self-Monitoring Scale (Graziano et al, 1985), a new measure of expressive control in children, was administered to 119 fifth- and sixth-graders for identification of high and low self-monitors (HSMs & LSMs).Study 1 involved the collection of sociometric peer ratings and peer nominations. The ratings were used to compare the overall level of peer attraction for HSMs versus LSMs (i.e., likeability). It was predicted that HSMs, due to their skills in strategically managing desired impressions and their tendency to appear as extroverted and friendly, would receive higher peer ratings than LSMs, whose reported principal ambition is to maintain a fairly consistent presentation of who they really are across situations. Self-monitoring scores were indeed positively associated with peer ratings and HSMs (those above the mean SM score) obtained significantly higher peer rating scores than LSMs (those below the mean).Selected peer nominations provided information about patterns of popularity and activity partner choices. HSMs received more "best-liked" and "best actor/actress" nominations, but were not more frequently chosen as "teacher's pet" or "class clown". Previous research suggested that when choosing preferred partners for various activities, HSMs, out of desire to align with "experts" in activities, would list a greater variety of partners. This was not found to be true, nor did LSMs choose best-liked peers more often, as predicted.In Study 2, subjects provided verbal descriptions of three familiar, same-sexed classmates. Statements were classified into categories suspected to be relevant for self-monitoring. A predicted greater use by HSMs of statements referring to the relatively stable, differentiating qualities of peers was not realized. Consistent with previous research, there was a significant grade difference in the use of such statements.In addition to describing three peers, each subject described him/herself, with statements categorized as above. HSMs and LSMs did not differ as predicted in either number of self-statements or their level of differentiation.Results from both studies are discussed in relation to the self-monitoring construct and peer relationships.


Psychology, Social; Psychology, Developmental

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