Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 1408-1410

Sociometric Techniques

  • Alana M. BurnsAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Maine
  • , Cynthia A. ErdleyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Maine


Sociometric techniques are methods that qualitatively measure aspects of social relationships, such as social acceptance (i.e., how much an individual is liked by peers) and social status (i.e., child’s social standing in comparison to peers).


Sociometric techniques have been used since the 1930s, when Moreno proposed that two dimensions of interpersonal relationships (attraction and repulsion) and the perceptions of individuals involved in relationships combined in various ways to determine nine dimensions of interpersonal relationships (e.g., attracted, attractive, rejected, isolated) [10]. Over subsequent decades, statistical techniques became more complex, and there was increasingly recognition of the importance of distinguishing between the low status categories of rejection and neglect. An important advance in sociometric measurement occurred in 1979, when Peery proposed a classification system that included both social preference (i.e., l ...

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