Concurrent and longitudinal relations between children's playground behavior and social preference, victimization, and bullying.

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    • Abstract:
      Prior research with contrived play groups suggests that how children interact with one another can influence their social relationships, but few studies have been carried out to determine if this is the case in naturalistic settings. This study examined the concurrent and longitudinal links between four observational measures of 8- to 9-year-old children's (N = 89) playground behaviors/peer contacts (Alone, Conversation, Group Size, and Network) and three sociometric measures of their peer relationships (Social Preference, Bully, and Victim). The latter were assessed at 2 points within a school year, the first corresponding with the playground observations and the second 5 months later. Several of the concurrent correlations were found to be significant. For boys, Group Size was positively correlated with Bully Score and Social Preference Score, but negatively correlated with Victim Score; and time Alone was positively correlated with Victim Score. For girls, time Alone was positively correlated with Victim Score; Network was negatively correlated with Bully Score but positively correlated with Social Preference Score; and Group Size was positively correlated with Social Preference Score. The longitudinal analyses indicated that for boys, elevated levels of time Alone and, separately, Conversation, predicted the highest increases in Victim Score. For girls, low levels of time Alone predicted the sharpest increases in Social Preference Score. There was also some marginally significant evidence, p < .06, that among girls, high levels of time Alone predicted the greatest increases in Bully Score, and high levels of Conversation predicted the greatest increases in Social Preference Score. The theoretical and practical importance of these links between children's nonaggressive playground behaviors and their emerging peer relationships are discussed. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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