Peers, pals and preferences : the effects of peer status and social needs on the self-concepts of preadolescent children
This study examines three aspects of preadolescents' social development; social self-concept, peer social status and social needs. 4 primary schools in Aberdeen were selected that cover the socio-economic spectrum. From these schools, 157 males and 157 females were chosen to take part in the first, cross-sectional part of the study. These children were tested on a variety of biographical, psychological and attitudinal variables. Using statistical analyses, profiles of children showing different social self-concepts, peer status' and social needs were devised. 15 children took part in the second, qualitative part of the study. These children were interviewed for their cognitions and perceptions of themselves, friendship, peer interaction and popularity. These results are presented as a number of case studies. The results show that children's social needs and peer status' affect their social self-concepts. Social self-concept, peer status and social needs are also shown to be associated with behavioural, perceptual and psychological variables. These variables have consequences for the lifestyles children adopt and social activities in which they participate. These results extend previous findings by showing the importance of individual preferences for different types of social interaction to social development, and by demonstrating the reflection of children's social development in their perceptions and attitudes. Finally, the implications and recommendations for future research are presented.