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This study examined social information processing theory's predictions that the accuracy of children's perceptions is associated with their peer acceptance. Specifically, it evaluated concurrent and prospective associations between the accuracy of children's perceptions and their peer acceptance, assessed by sociometric status and by positive and negative peer nominations. In addition, this study evaluated if accuracy was associated with acceptance, independent of the influence of bias. Sex and aggression were evaluated as potential moderators of these relationships. In addition, this study examined possible differences in accuracy for rejected-aggressive subtypes of children. Peer nomination and peer rating data were collected from a sample of 663 third through fifth grade children, 389 of whom were classified as popular, average, or rejected sociometric status. Hierarchical regression analyses and analyses of variance were conducted. Results provided some support for social information processing theory, as inaccurate perceptions were concurrently associated with less peer liking. Level of aggression moderated this relationship. In addition, inaccurate perceptions were associated with more peer disliking for girls, but not for boys. These results remained significant when controlling for bias, suggesting that accuracy and bias are unique measures of off-target perceptions. Accuracy did not predict changes in acceptance over the course of one academic year. When rejected-aggressive subtypes were evaluated separately, rejected-aggressive girls were more inaccurate than their peers, but there were no group differences for boys. With the inclusion of bias, group differences became nonsignificant, suggesting that bias differentiated rejected-aggressive girls from their peers.
Social Acceptance, Peer Relations, Perceived Social Acceptance, Accuracy
Date of Defense
June 8, 2010.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Janet A. Kistner, Professor Directing Thesis; Ellen Berler, Committee Member; Ashby Plant, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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