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Characteristics of low social status children

1 May 1998


The purpose of this qualitative research project was to answer three central questions: I) What are the observable characteristics of fifth grade girls who are socially neglected? 2) What are the observable characteristics of fifth grade girls who are socially rejected? 3) What characteristics, if any, do socially neglected and socially rejected fifth grade girls share? This research was based on Gottman's (1977) early research which classified low social status children into one general category he called social isolates. This project was designed to further the understanding of the differences between these two categories oflow status children. This study took place in a fifth grade classroom in an affluent elementary school in the Pacific Northwest. Students were observed carefully and interviewed. Social status of the female students was established using a positive nomination sociometric inventory which every girl voluntarily completed. Low social status assignment was based on a lack of peer nomination. Observations were gathered primarily in the classroom during regular class time. Additional observations were taken during lunch and recess. After collecting interview notes, observations, and survey results, patterns became evident regarding the characteristics of the girl who could be classified as socially rejected and the one classified as socially neglected. The socially neglected student tended to spend a great deal of time off-task and alone. The socially rejected student tended to be more aggressive and confrontational than her more popular peers.


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