Date of Graduation

12-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Environmental Science (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

General Human Environmental Sciences

Advisor

Jennifer K. Henk

Committee Member

Vernoice G. Baldwin

Second Committee Member

George Denny

Keywords

Psychology; Education; Age; Ethnicity; Gender; Peeer acceptance; Preschoolers

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine preschool children's acceptance of peers. The term peer acceptance is defined as "the degree a child is Socially accepted or rejected by his or her peer group." Johnson et al. (2002) found children between the ages of three and five were able to develop friendships and Social skills that would impact their acceptance among peers. The study determined if children based their choice of peers according to a child's age, gender, ethnicity, appearance, and/or Social skills. The subjects of this study were 31 children whose ages were three-, four-, and five-years-old who attended a childcare center in Northwest Arkansas. A sociometric task was used to conduct the research. When presented with a sociometric task and an interview of what makes one want to play with another, the participants tended to base peer acceptance choices on the same gender and same ethnicity. Children did not base their peer acceptance on Social skills, age, or appearance. According to the interview responses children chose peers based on the nature of the activity and similarities in play of their pictured peers.

Keywords: Peer acceptance, preschool, age, gender, ethnicity, appearance, Social skills, sociometric status

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