Social Networks of Children, Adolescents, and College Students

By Suzanne Salzinger; John Antrobus et al. | Go to book overview

this would result in a more expressive style.2 This hypothesis is supported by Ervin-Tripp's ( 1977) observation that in the majority of conversations between children, the exchange of information about the world is not the goal of the participants.


METHOD

Subjects

Ten 22-month-old children and their middle-class mothers participated in this study. All children were firstborn from two-parent families. Six of the children were female. All were English-speaking monolinguals, although one child was Hispanic and another was interracial. The sample was obtained by mail solicitation of a New York City maternity center's parents' committee. Seven of the ten mothers were not currently working; one worked parttime, and two others worked full-time.


Procedure

Child's Social Network. For this study, information regarding only the child's social network was gathered. The mother was interviewed by phone over a 3-week period regarding the child's daily contacts with adults and peers. The mother was asked to describe the child's activities during the course of the day, indicating who the child had interacted with from the time the child woke up. Mothers were specifically questioned regarding whether both parents were home when the child awoke, and who was present during visits to friends' or relatives' homes. Full-time baby-sitters and fathers were also interviewed when appropriate. In order to be counted as a child contact, it was necessary for a person to interact directly with the child and not merely to be present in the same house. Interviews were scheduled to insure that the child's interactions on each day of the week were sampled. Network data were analyzed to summarize the composition of each child's network, total contacts per week with adults and peers, and adult contacts as a proportion of total contact.

Child's Speech. Each child was videotaped in the child's own home in two settings: a half-hour free-play session with the mother, and another with a peer.3 For each session a set of toys was provided in an attempt to minimize contextual variation. The toys provided had been chosen on the basis of

____________________
2
Although parallels may be drawn to the birth-order literature, the current study cannot directly contribute to theorizing in that area because the subjects are all firstborn children.
3
The child-peer interaction has not been analyzed to date and does not appear in this report.

-41-

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