Date of Graduation

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Timothy A. Cavell

Committee Member

Ana J. Bridges

Second Committee Member

Douglas A. Behrend

Keywords

Psychology; Bullying; Peer victimization; Peers; Sociometrics

Abstract

This study reports on the development and initial evaluation of a novel peer-report measure of lunch mate preference. The Lunch Table Rating Scale (LTRS) was designed to assess peer preference within a narrow but important Social context while limiting the unwanted influence of reputational bias on peer ratings. Psychometric properties of the LTRS were examined using a sample of 298 fourth-grade students. The LTRS demonstrated good internal consistency and adequate stability over a four-month interval. LTRS scores were positively correlated with Social preference scores from a traditional classroom sociometric instrument and negatively correlated with self-, teacher-, and peer-reported levels of peer victimization. Structural models predicting children's level of peer victimization supported the incremental validity of the LTRS: Model fit improved when LTRS scores were used along with Social preference and child gender as predictor variables. Results support the notion that the lunchroom is an important Social context for studying the relationships of bullied children and offer preliminary evidence for the utility of the LTRS.

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