Peer Rejection in Middle School: Subgroup Differences in Behavior, Loneliness, and Interpersonal Concerns
This research was designed to identify patterns of behavior and emotional response associated with peer rejection in early adolescence. Seventh- and eighth-grade middle-school students (N = 450) were administered positive and negative sociometric nominations, peer behavioral assessment items, a loneliness and social dissatisfaction questionnaire, and a newly developed interpersonal concerns questionnaire. Results indicated that most rejected students were aggressive or submissive, but it was the combination of aggressiveness or submissiveness with low levels of prosocial behavior that was associated with peer rejection. With regard to students' affective experiences, submissive-rejected students, when compared with average-status students, were found to report higher levels of loneliness and worry about their relations with others. Aggressive-rejected students did not differ on these dimensions from average-status students.
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