Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 2037–2048 | Cite as

Children’s Narrative Representations of Peer Experiences in Cultural Contexts: The Relations to Psychological Adjustment

  • Qingfang SongEmail author
  • Jessie Bee Kim Koh
  • Qi Wang
Original Paper


This study examined children’s narrative representations of peer experiences in cultural contexts and its concurrent and long-term relations to psychological adjustment. Thirty-four European American and 30 Chinese immigrant 9-10 years old children completed a narrative task to tell stories based on two scenario stems. Children’s peer-related self-views, loneliness, and social anxiety were assessed and again a year later. Peer interaction themes in children’s completed stories, particularly conflict resolution, were associated with European American children’s positive self-views and lower loneliness at both time points, as well as lower social anxiety at time 2. In contrast, conflictual themes exhibited significant association only with Chinese immigrant children’s engaging self-views at time 1. The associations of peer interaction themes to children’s positive self-views emerged to be significant for Chinese immigrant children only at time 2. Furthermore, peer interaction themes did not correlate with Chinese immigrant children’s loneliness and social anxiety at either time point. The results suggested the culture-dependent role of narrative representations of peer experiences in children’s psychological adjustment.


Peer relations Narrative representations Psychological adjustment Culture Middle childhood 



This research was supported by Grant BCS-0721171 from the National Science Foundation and a Hatch Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Q.W. We thank members of the Culture & Social Cognition Lab at Cornell University for their assistance. Special thanks go to the children and families who made the study possible.

Author Contributions

Q.S.: collaborated with the design of the study, executed the study, analyzed the data, and prepared the manuscript. J.B.K.K.: collaborated with the designing, execution, data analyses, and writing of the study. Q.W.: designed the study, and collaborated with the execution, data analyses, and writing of the study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures in the study were approved by the Cornell University Institutional Review Board.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Human SciencesWestern Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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