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Study co-authored by Philip Rodkin shows children aware of popularity issues as early as third grade

by Sharita Forrest / Sep 5, 2012

Children’s social goals at the beginning of a school year may predict whether they’ll be more popular – or less popular – by the end of that academic year, a new study conducted at the University of Illinois suggests. The study was co-written by Philip Rodkin, a professor of child development in the Department of Educational Psychology at the College of Education.

As young as third grade, children are attuned to issues of popularity, social preference and social vulnerability and strategize to enhance or demonstrate their social status using prosocial or aggressive behaviors, or both, the research indicated. This model of social competence was previously thought to apply to adolescents but researchers were less certain of its pertinence to younger children.

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