Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type

Dissertation (Access Restricted)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Ed Psychology and Research


Educational Psychology

Committee Chair

Yeh Hsueh

Committee Member

Robert Cohen

Committee Member

Marsha Walton

Committee Member

Denise Winsor


Respect is an important aspect of children’s social lives. This study addressed the larger question of “What does it mean for a child to be respected by peers?” by examining three distinct, but interrelated research questions: (1) How do children describe their respect experiences? (2) Are children’s respect descriptions related to self and peer evaluations of respect in the classroom? (3) Can peer-respected children be empirically differentiated into groups in order to relate differences in the respect groups to differences in peer social competence? Participants were 198 third through sixth grade students. Each child wrote descriptions of what it means to respect someone and completed measures of self- and peer-evaluations of respect and social competence. The results indicated that children described respect in various ways with the most common description being “prosocial behavior.” However, the number of respect descriptors and their level of complexity increased with grade level. Moreover, the more children described respect as a give-and-take relationship, the less likely they were to rate themselves as being respected; the more children described respect as accepting the differences of others, the greater their ratings were on a variety of respect measures. Finally, children were categorized into three groups of being respected: a low respect group, an average respect group, and a high respect group. The children in low respect group were more victimized, aggressive, and lonely, as compared to children in the other groups. Children in the high respect group were more popular, more sociable, and more preferred by peers than children in the other groups. These results indicated that being highly respected was associated with positive peer behaviors, and being low in respect was associated with negative peer behaviors. This study provides an empirical starting point for understanding what respect among children entails, how respect functions within the peer group setting, and how respect relates to children’s social competences. Implications for the study of respect within children’s peer relations were discussed.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.