Posted at 11.14.2018
This paper researches the effects of peer rejection on children, from the beginning of elementary school and transitioning into middle school, and the adverse effects that peer rejection can have. The paper also examines if there are certain factors, such as race, sex, parental care, or societal deviance, that correlate to or can be used as predictors of peer rejection. Looking at peer rejection shows multiple adverse effects, varying from psychological damage, upsurge in aggression, disinterest in academic life, increase in risk taking behavior, and negative academic performance, with all being related in turn to the duration and intensity of the rejection. This paper examines how peer rejection is correlated to these factors and outcomes, and if indeed they can be used to predict adjustment in adult life.
An Study of the UNWANTED EFFECTS of Peer Rejection on Multiple Aspects of a Child's Life
Merriam-Webster defines reject as "to won't accept, consider, submit to, take for a few purpose, or use, " and peer as "one that is of equal standing with another : especially : one owned by the same societal group especially based on age, grade, or status. " From these two definitions we get peer rejection, which can be explained as refusal to accept someone of an identical age, grade or status into a social group. Whoever has ever been part of your social group in their life, from a school associated club, to a sports team, to a playground group, has handled not fitting in. Whether due to their race, age, sex, or play preferences, children of all types deal with not being accepted by their classmates. Asking anyone are certain to get you an account of a period in which they experienced rejection by friends or fellow students, and exactly how they felt when it occurred. But what many people never think about is how this rejection can affect a kid, if it continues for a long timeframe, or is more intense then merely an exclusion in one day's worth of activity. If this occurs there can be a risk for problems to commence developing. First, we will be discussing the immediately recognizable effects of peer rejection on a child, such as disinterest in assignment work, drop in grade point average, upsurge in aggression and overall insufficient interest in education. Secondly, we will discuss the long-term effects of peer rejection, like increase in risk taking behavior, likelihood of continued low scores in GPA and continued lack of curiosity about school. Lastly, we will discuss how peer rejection may also be a predictor of other negative things in a child's life, such as deviance, whether it be physical, mental, or social, or even maltreatment by their parents.
In 2008, Ladd, Herald-Brown & Reiser conducted a study on whether chronic peer rejection would affect and predict a child's classroom participation during grade school. It had been hypothesized that "(a) peer rejection creates constraints that inhibit children's classroom participation and (b) the cessation of rejection permits children to be more vigorous and cooperative participants in classroom activities. " To check the hypothesis, Ladd et al. (2008) took a sample of 398 children, 199 girls and 199 boys, with a largely Caucasian sample, 77. 5%, and followed them from age 5 through age 12. The largely Caucasian sample makes the group appear somewhat biased, due to it's insufficient representing any other race, however, it can be said that it's representative of the populace of america. Based on the 2011 Census, Caucasians make up 78. 1% of the United States population, so although it can happen biased, it would seem that instead the sampling is quite accurate if we want to apply the sample's results to the populace. The results of the study, that are shown by having a slope format, found that the first chronic rejected (ECR) band of children, or kids who were rejected from kindergarten to third or fourth grade showed little if any increase in participation of class, as well as this downward or stable trajectory continuing well in to the other grades. It also found that children who experienced late chronic rejection (LCR), that was from grades four to six, experienced an instantaneous decline in participation and a continued decline in what was otherwise a normal upward growth of participation. What this show is the fact that the effects of peer rejection are fast in being detrimental to a kid, as well as being able to build-up to the point that this lasts for periods of time longer then the original period in which peer rejection was experienced. Of note is that proven fact that, for the ECR group, once rejection ceased in fourth grade, if peer acceptance begins, then an immediate growth of participation, as would be likely in a non-chronic rejected child, will also begin(Ladd et al. , 2008).
Following this connection between peer rejection and decrease in classroom participation, we can look at a report by Veronneau, Vitaro, Brendgen, Dishion & Tremblay, 2010, which attempted to find out whether there is a connection between peer rejection and academic achievement from middle age children into teenaged children. They hypothesized that academic achievement would decrease with peer rejection, due to the inability to integrate with the other children. Veronneau et al. used an example of 198 girls and 254 boys, almost all of European descent, which were selected from French speaking schools in Quebec. This reveals a bias in the sample, meaning a lot of the children chosen were Caucasians, as well as them being from Canada, which means that the studies results cannot be generalized for all those children, which could cause some serious problems if generalized. The lack of knowledge as to whether Hispanics, Asians or African Americans would show similar connections between their academic achievement and peer rejection would be something that a similar study could identify. The study found that academic achievement was a predictor in whether children were accepted by peers or rejected by them. This connection was shown by negative correlations which range from -. 12to a -. 20, with the scores slowly but surely decreasing towards middle school and adolescence. This not only shows that peer rejection decreases academic achievement, but which it affects it less as children grow older. An explanation could be seen in that as a kid grows older, he'll not be influenced by teachers and parents negative opinions of children who do badly in school, or that as children reach middle school, student bodies have a tendency to increase in size, meaning they are really less likely to know about fellow classmate's academic scores and achievements.
Now to tie those two studies together we can examine a report done Amy Bellmore in 2011, that viewed associations of Grade Point Average (GPA) and peer rejection and unpopularity. The study chose 901 students, 477 boys and 424 girls, from a school system in a middle sized town in the northeastern USA, with an ethnicity similar to that of the united states, with 65% being Caucasian, 20% BLACK, 12% Latino, and 3% Asian or other, and followed them from grades four to eighth(Bellmore, 2011). The analysis found that as peer rejection increased in a semester, GPA would decrease, which peer rejection in a semester would also predict GPA reduction in the next semester. Bellmore also discovered that peer rejection and unpopularity function differently from each other, with unpopularity not affecting GPA at all during elementary years, but instead, increasing GPA during middle school! This distinction between actual rejection by peers and a lack of acceptance by peers brings up an interesting thought. While being refused by friends and classmates in elementary school makes a kid less likely to take part in class, and less inclined to achieve academically, by middle school an over-all sense of difference and lack of acceptance seems to almost fuel a child's need to prove himself in a purely academic way. While this in no means says that as an outcast from the social norm makes a student better academically, it can seem to validate Veronneau et al. 's (2010) findings that peer acceptance increases with academic achievement. It also seems to suggest that Ladd et al. 's 2008 findings of peer rejection hindering classroom participation may be correlated with a drop in GPA as well. Whenever a child feels as though they cannot take part in class, they could learn less due never to asking questions due to fear of classmates reactions, perform less then normal in class projects that require group participation where they could experience rejection, and overall experience a drop in GPA and academic achievement for their lack of group work finished and class participation points earned. As the studies seem to truly have a firm amount of findings from children in elementary and middle school, the lack of research into high school peer rejection and it's really detriments on academic life, demonstrates peer rejection still has many opportunities for research.
This insufficient research causes another study which examined the consequences of peer rejection and it's really influence on girl's risk taking behavior. Conducted in 2004 by Prinstein and La Greca, it aimed to discover if there was a link between peer rejection and aggression and if they could be utilized as predictors of risk taking behaviors, such as marijuana use and risky sexual behaviors. Prinstein & La Greca took an example of 148 girls from fourth to sixth grade, and then examined them again when girls had reached tenth to twelfth grade. The sample's ethnicity contains over half being Caucasian, two sixths being Hispanic one sixth being DARK-COLORED and the remainder of the sample being Asian or other. Also of note is the fact that the sample was made up of mainly girls from middle class families. The conclusions drawn from the sample cannot then be applied to general population, and leave open the question of whether socioeconomic status could predispose girls to peer rejection, or if their socioeconomic status itself leaves predisposition to risk taking behavior.
In recent studies, such as that by Shields, Ryan and Cicchetti (2001) and Juvonen (1991), peer rejection was found to be linked to maltreatment by parents and shown to be related to deviance from norms. Beginning with maltreatment by caregivers, Shields et al. 2001 hypothesized that: Maltreated children would evidence maladaptive representations, maladaptive representations would be associated with emotion dysregulation and peer rejection on entry into new social groups, maladaptive representations would foster emotion dysregulation among maltreated children, in a way that they would be more apt to be rejected by peers. This was done by utilizing a narrative representation by 76 maltreated and 45 non-maltreated kids at a summer camp, of varying race and ethnicity, from ages eight to twelve, all from an inner city environment. While the sample size isn't large enough to accurately predict for the complete population, it is still diverse enough to provide us an obvious enough picture of how maltreatment make a difference all types of children, and arrive in social groups through peer rejection. The determination of maltreatment versus non-maltreatment was found using Child Protective and Preventative Services' records, making certain maltreated children came from homes where maltreatment had occurred and would probably continue due to dysfunctional family, which guards against any bias that can attended from using opinions alone to ascertain maltreatment. In order to keep the samples unbiased, even the types of maltreatment varied from child to child, with sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect all being types of maltreatment included. After choosing the kids, an exercise in which each young one was asked to elaborate upon a series of story stems, representing emotional and physical situations involving the mother or father, was recorded and then transcribed for comparison. After comparing the findings, it was shown that