Department of Psychology
Master of Arts
While friendship patterns and the relationship between friendship status and school adjustment have been studied in same-age classrooms, little is known about friendship patterns and the contribution of friendship status to school adjustment in mixed-age classrooms. The purposes of the present study were to investigate friendship patterns in a large sample of mixed-age (ungraded) primary classrooms and to examine the contribution of friendship status to school adjustment in a smaller subsample of ungraded primary children. Peer acceptance level and age relative to classmates both had a significant impact on the number of reciprocated friends children had, and on the relative age of their friends. High-accepted and relatively old children had more reciprocated friends than did less accepted and relatively young children. Also, high-accepted children had more relatively old, and intermediate age friends than did than average- and low-accepted children, and average-accepted children had more friends at all relative ages than did low-accepted children. Children who were older in relative age had more friends who were also older in relative age than did children who were intermediate and young in relative age. Intermediate age children had more relatively old friends than did relatively young children. Chi square tests of independence revealed that low-accepted children had more friends who were young in relative age, and high-accepted children had more relatively old friends than expected by random pairing, and that relatively young children had more relatively young friends and relatively old children had more relatively old friends than expected by random pairing. There were some similarities in friendship patterns between the larger data sample and the school adjustment subsample. Peer acceptance influenced friendship patterns in a similar manner, however, there was no significant effect of relative age. Also, high- and average-accepted children had more friends who were young and intermediate in relative age than did relatively young children. High-accepted children also had more relatively old friends than did average and low-accepted children, and average-accepted children had more relatively old friends than did low-accepted children. Chi-square analysis revealed patterns similar to those in the larger sample; high-accepted children had more relatively old friends and low-accepted children had more relatively young friends than expected. There was no significant of relative age on the relative age of children's friends. In the school adjustment subsample, children's attitudes toward math, reading, and science were positively related to math, reading, and science achievement scores. Friendship status was significantly related to children's attitudes toward math and achievement scores. Specifically, if children had at least one friend, they had more positive attitudes toward math and higher average achievement scores. Also, females had more positive attitudes toward math, but not other subjects.
Caverly, Sarah, "Friendship Patterns and School Adjustment in the Mixed-Age Context" (1997). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 770.