Stability and change in peer-rejected status: The role of child behavior, parenting, and family ecology.
Abstract: Antecedents and correlates of peer rejection in kindergarten and first grade were examined. Interviews with 585 mothers provided data on parenting and family ecology. Child behavior was indexed by peer and teacher ratings. Children were classified as sociometrically accepted in both grades, rejected in only one grade, or rejected in both grades. Compared to accepted children, rejected children were more likely to come from lower SES families in which restrictive discipline occurred at a high rate, and were more aggressive and less socially and academically skilled. Children rejected in both grades were more aggressive than children rejected in one grade. Decreases in aggression and increases in academic performance were shown by children whose status improved across grades, with the opposite pattern shown by children whose status worsened. Findings are discussed in terms of the etiology and maintenance of peer rejection in the early school years.