Perceptions of social behavior and peer acceptance in kindergarten


Forty kindergartners participated in a study using social behavior ratings from observers, teachers, and parents to predict the children’s perceptions of peer acceptance. Gender and race differences in social behaviors and peer acceptance also were investigated. Perceptions of peer acceptance were gathered through individual child interviews, sociometric ratings, and teacher and parent ratings. In regression analyses, friendship skill predicted peer acceptance as reported by children and parents. Shyness/withdrawal inversely predicted teacher-reported peer acceptance. Surprisingly, aggression did not predict peer acceptance in any of the regression analyses. Analyses of group differences revealed that girls were rated as more prosocial than boys, and boys were rated as more aggressive than girls. No statistically significant race differences were found. The findings suggest that teachers and parents should encourage child-child interaction in order to promote friendship skills and inhibit shyness/withdrawal. © 1999 by the Association for Childhood Education International.

Publication Title

Journal of Research in Childhood Education