Recent Advances in the Measurement of Acceptance and Rejection in the Peer System

Recent Advances in the Measurement of Acceptance and Rejection in the Peer System

Recent Advances in the Measurement of Acceptance and Rejection in the Peer System

Recent Advances in the Measurement of Acceptance and Rejection in the Peer System

Synopsis

This issue explores the latest developments in the applicationof sociometric methodology to the study of peer relations, exploring how the seminal work of Jacob Moreno has been and is being used in child development research. Emphasizing the bilateral nature of peer relationships, the issue presents two different approaches for taking into account the characteristics of the perceivers who are providing sociometric evaluations: the use of unlimited nominations and the use of ratings instead of nominations. The contributors offer both a conceptual and an empirical analysis of the fundamental sociometric dimensions of acceptance, rejection and social preference--and they sumarize what is known about the stability over time of sociometric status categories. This is the 88th issue of the quarterly journal New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development.

Excerpt

The authors describe the evolution of sociometric method
ology in child development research over the last sixty
years.

In this chapter we present an introduction to the basic ideas of Jacob Moreno's (1934) historical model of sociometric judgment and a brief history of the use of this model in child development research. Our goal is to show how developmental psychologists have used the sociometric perspective to understand social development. By highlighting the concepts and ideas that researchers took from Moreno's perspective, as well as what was left behind, we reveal the strengths and limitations of contemporary sociometric methods. This review provides a conceptual prologue for the subsequent chapters in this volume.

The organization of this chapter is as follows. After introducing the broad ideas of Moreno's (1934) perspective, we will show how child psychologists initially applied these ideas. We then trace the development of sociometric techniques to study children's peer relations, pointing in particular to the advances of the past fifteen years. Finally, we discuss the limitations of the techniques that underlie much of the sociometric “heyday” of the 1980s, and we show the need for the new perspectives offered in this volume address these problems.

Basic Ideas Underlying Moreno's Perspective

Four general themes underlie Moreno's (1934) model of sociometric judgment: (1) a focus on two basic dimensions of judgment (attraction and repulsion); (2) a consideration of the perceiver (how one sees others), as well as

The first author was supported by a summer fellowship from the University of Con
necticut Research Foundation.

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