Sex Roles

, Volume 25, Issue 3–4, pp 237–253 | Cite as

The development of social networks from early to middle childhood: Gender differences and the relation to school competence

  • Candice Feiring
  • Michael Lewis


The purpose of this study was to examine gender differences in social network development from early to middle childhood and the relation of network characteristics to school competence. Maternal report of 75 children's kin, nonkin adult, and friendship networks were collected at 3, 6, and 9 years of age. Teacher ratings of school competence were obtained at 9 years. While children showed changes in their social networks over time, expected gender differences were not found in the extensive nature of the nonkin network. However, as expected, preference for same-sex friends was noted in early childhood and intensified with age into middle childhood. For girls, but not for boys, social network characteristics were related to teacher ratings of social competence in school.


Social Network Gender Difference Social Psychology Early Childhood Social Competence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Candice Feiring
    • 1
  • Michael Lewis
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for the Study of Child DevelopmentRobert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolNew Brunswick

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