Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Arnold L. Stolberg


Poor peer relations in childhood predict difficulty in adolescent and adult adjustment. Sociometric methods provide a useful way to operationalize social competence. Five groups of children (Average, Popular, Rejected, Neglected, and Controversial), identified by nomination sociometrics, show significant differences on a variety of behavioral and non-behavioral indices. This categorization scheme has value in the identification of children at risk for later maladaptive outcomes, and may be useful in designing preventive intervention programs.

The current study attempted to determine the degree to which diagnostic ratings generated by significant adults can be generalized to the sociometric status of children. Parent and teacher ratings were gathered on 134 children who had previously been categorized sociometrically as Popular, Average, Neglected or Rejected. Two significant discriminant functions were found that together accounted for 95% of the variance shared between the sociometric groups and adult ratings. Interpretation of the discriminant functions suggests that Rejected children are rated by adults as more emotionally labile, interpersonally hostile, and less able to cope with failure and social pressure than the Neglected and Popular children. Neglected children are seen as displaying slight motoric, cognitive, and/or academic deficits compared to their Popular peers. The discriminant functions generated were able to correctly classify 62% of the total original sample, 48% with bias removed.

Diagnostic inferences and implications of the results for clinical practice are discussed. Limitations of the study together with possible directions for future research are presented.


Scanned, with permission from the author, from the original print version, which resides in University Archives.


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