"I'm OK but You're Not" and Other Peer-Relational Schemas: Explaining Individual Differences in Children's Social Goals

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dual perception, peer-relational schemas, self & peer perception, social goals, proactive aggression, prosocial behavior, withdrawal, individual differences

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This study examined the links among 5th and 6th graders' (279 girls and 310 boys) self- and peer perceptions, social goals, and social behavior. Social goals mediated the effects of self- and peer perceptions on 3 types of behavior: proactive aggression, prosocial behavior, and withdrawal. In addition to their main effects (self-perception predicting variance in agentic goals, peer perception being related to communal goals), self- and peer perception interacted in influencing social goals; for instance, the effects of a positive view of oneself were different in the contexts of a positive versus a negative perception of peers. It is suggested that in order to predict children's social behavior more accurately, researchers should investigate children's dual perceptions of themselves and of their peers--that is, their peer-relational schemas--instead of assessing self-perception and peer perception in isolation from each other.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Developmental Psychology, v. 41, issue 2, p. 363-375