Health Status and Peer Relationships in Early Adolescence: The Role of Peer Contact, Self-esteem, and Social Anxiety
- 607 Downloads
We examined associations between children’s health status and the quality of their peer relationships, as well as factors that may account for individual variation in the quality of chronically ill and healthy children’s peer relationships. Our sample included 268 children (138 boys; 130 girls) with 149 European-Americans and 119 African-Americans. There were 91 children with a chronic illness; 35 with asthma, 26 with diabetes, and 30 with obesity. Chronically ill children were characterized by teachers as displaying less prosocial behavior, less overt aggression, and less relational aggression with peers than healthy children. Chronically ill children reported lower levels of peer contact and higher levels of social anxiety than healthy children. Among chronically ill children those with high self-esteem were more prosocial and less aggressive than those with low self-esteem. Our findings suggest that chronically ill children are at risk for peer relationship difficulties, but that self-esteem may serve as a protective factor against poor peer relationships for some chronically ill children.
KeywordsHealth status Peer relationships Self-esteem Social anxiety Early adolescence
This investigation was part of a larger longitudinal research project, supported by a grant to Carol MacKinnon-Lewis from the William T. Grant Foundation, examining family and school factors that influence early adolescents’ adjustment during the transition to middle school. The present study is based on a thesis submitted by Elizabeth McCarroll to the faculty of Texas Tech University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MS degree. The authors would like to thank Allison Allmon, Kelly Barrow, Angela Walker, and all of the graduate and undergraduate research assistants who worked on this study. We are also grateful to the parents and children who participated in the research.
- Achenbach, T. M. (1991). Manual for the child behavior checklist/4–18 and 1991 profile. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.Google Scholar
- Achenbach, T., & Edelbrock, C. (1983). Manual for the Child Behavioral Checklist and Revised Child Behavior Profile. Burlington, VT: Queen City Printers.Google Scholar
- Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Bloom, B., Dey, A. N., & Freeman, G. (2006). Summary health statistics for US children: National Health Interview Survey, 2005. Series 10, Data from the National Health Survey. Vital and Health Statistics, 10(231),1–84.Google Scholar
- Brown, B. B., & Klute, C. (2003). Friendships, cliques, and crowds. In G. R. Adams & M. D. Berzonsky (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of adolescence (pp. 330–348). Maiden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Hymel, S., Rubin, K. H., Rowden, L., & Lemare, L. (1990). Children’s peer relationships: Longitudinal prediction of internalizing and externalizing problems from middle childhood. Child Development, 61, 2004–2021.Google Scholar
- Ladd, G. W. (2006). Children’s peer relations and social competence: A century of progress. Current Perspectives in Psychology. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Meece, D. W., & Laird, R. D. (2006). The importance of peers. In F. A. Villarruel & T. Luster (Eds.), The crisis in youth mental health: Critical issues and effective programs, Vol 2: Disorders in Adolescence child psychology and mental health (pp. 283–311). Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.Google Scholar
- Reiter-Purtill, J., & Noll, R. B. (2003). Peer relationships of children with chronic illness. In M. C. Roberts (Ed.), Handbook of pediatric psychology (3rd ed., pp. 176–197). New York, NY, USA: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Schuman, W. B., & La Greca, A. M. (1999). Social correlates of chronic illness. In R. T. Brown (Ed.), Cognitive aspects of chronic illness in children (pp. 289–311). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Simmons, R. G., Black, A., and Zhou, Y. (1991). African-American versus white children and the transition into junior high school. American Journal of Education 481–520. doi: 10.1086/443995.
- Wigfield, A., Eccles, J. S., MacIver, D., & Rueman, D. A. (1991). Transitions during early adolescence: Changes in childrens domain-specific self-perceptions and general self-esteem across the transition to junior high school. Developmental Psychology, 27, 552–565. doi: 10.1037/0012-16188.8.131.522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar