Academic journal article Learning Disability Quarterly

Stability of Social Status of Children with and without Learning Disabilities

Academic journal article Learning Disability Quarterly

Stability of Social Status of Children with and without Learning Disabilities

Article excerpt

Abstract. The stability of peer status of children with and without learning disabilities (LD) was examined. Thirty-eight 9- to 12-year-old children with LD were compared with a sample of children without LD matched on gender and general education classroom placement using a composite positive and negative nomination sociogram (Coie & Kupersmidt, 1983) and a Social Behavior Nomination Scale adapted from Dodge (1983). The measures were administered twice in the same school year. Findings that students with LD had lower social preference scores and were more likely to be socially rejected were consistent with previous research. Children with LD were also less likely to be seen as cooperative and leaders than children without LD. Although the sociometric measures had good test-retest reliability, the Social Preference score of children with LD decreased and their Liked Least score increased from Time 1 to Time 2 compared to children without LD. Children with LD were also seen by their peers as being more dependent at Time 2 than Time 1. Children with LD who had average social status at Time 1 were more likely than children without LD to change their social status to Neglected or Rejected social status at Time 2.

Peer acceptance is a solid indicator of social adjustment in children and a strong predictor of adult social adjustment (Cowen, Pederson, Babigian, Izzo, & Trost, 1973; Roff, 1961; Roff, Sells, & Golden, 1972). The concurrent and predictive validity of sociometrically assessed peer acceptance is, in part, related to its remarkable stability (Bonney, 1943; Coie & Dodge, 1983; Roff et al., 1972). Although students with learning disabilities have consistently been found to be less accepted than their classmates without disabilities (see Kavale & Forness, 1995; Swanson & Malone, 1992; Wiener, 1987, for reviews of this literature), the stability of their peer acceptance over time has not been clearly established. Therefore, consistent with the recommendation of Vaughn and Haager (1994), the purpose of this study was to investigate peer acceptance and, more specifically, the stability of social status of children with learning disabilities. In addition, students with learning disabilities have been shown to be less often perceived by their peers as cooperative and leaders while being more often perceived as "clowns" (Wiener, Harris, & Shirer, 1990). The social-behavioral characteristics of students with LD as perceived by their peers will also be examined.

Prior to describing the developmental studies on stability of peer acceptance and studies in which peer acceptance of children with LD was assessed over time, we will address some measurement issues that are important when assessing peer acceptance. Peer acceptance has typically been measured in two ways, rating scales and nomination sociograms.

Rating scale sociometrics involve giving children a roster of their classmates and asking them to rate each child on a Likert scale on a dimension such as whether they like to play with that child. Rating scale sociometrics have been shown to be reliable and valid (e.g., Asher & Hymel, 1981; Hymel & Rubin, 1985). In spite of their excellent psychometric properties, when mean ratings scores are used, they do not differentiate children who are neglected by their peers from children who are rejected. Children who are neglected are children who are neither disliked nor liked by their classmates. By comparison, children who are rejected are overtly disliked by their peers (Coie, Dodge, & Coppotelli, 1982). Although Asher and Wheeler (1985) and French and Waas (1985) found that rejected children differ from neglected children in the proportion of very low ratings (i.e., a score of 1 on a 5-point scale) they obtain on rating scale sociometrics, nomination scales permit this distinction to be made more easily (Asher & Dodge, 1986).

The second type of sociometric measure is the nomination sociogram, which measures social status. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.