British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 30 Issue 2 (June 2012), Pages 225-357

Examining the components of children's peer liking as antecedents of school adjustment (pages 303-325)

Children's social interactions with their peers influence their psychosocial adjustment; consequently, the relationship between class‐wide peer liking, same‐gender peer liking, and school adjustment was explored in two age groups. Peer liking was analysed using the social relations model (SRM). In Study 1, 205 children (103 female and 102 male, Mage= 7.15, SD= 7 months) completed measures of peer liking and school adjustment, and teachers completed the Short‐Form Teacher Rating Scale of School Adjustment (Short‐Form TRSSA). In Study 2, 197 children (98 female and 90 male, Mage= 9.87, SD= 5.9 months) completed measures of peer liking and school adjustment. Both studies yielded evidence of reciprocal liking and individual differences in the ratings of liking awarded to, and elicited from, both peer groups. Multigroup path analysis, with groups created according to gender, revealed that elements of liking predicted different aspects of school adjustment with some variation according to age and gender. Together, these findings suggest that the SRM can be used to examine peer liking and underscore the importance of children's peers for school adjustment.

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