Although exclusion is commonly thought of as a form of relational or social aggression, it often reflects attempts at maintaining friendships, drawing group boundaries, and optimizing group functioning and can thus also be considered an inevitable feature of normative social interactions. This study examines the narrative accounts and judgments of children’s own experiences with peer exclusion. Eighty-four participants, aged 7, 12, and 17, provided one narrative account of a time when they had been excluded (victim) and one of a time when they had excluded someone else (perpetrator). Narratives differed in several expected ways, depending on the perspective from which they were told. Nevertheless, from both perspectives, participants referred to the reasons underlying the exclusion. Notably, also, from both perspectives, participants seldom referred to the victim’s emotions. Significant age differences in types of exclusionary behaviors, perpetrator’s role, and evaluations suggest age-related changes in the meanings of exclusion, with adolescents becoming increasingly attuned to the complexities and inevitability of exclusion. No significant gender differences were observed. Overall, this study provided insight into how the multifaceted nature of exclusion gets played out in children’s real-life experiences.
Wainryb, Cecilia; Komolova, Masha; and Brehl, Beverly
"Children's Narrative Accounts and Judgments of Their Own Peer-Exclusion Experiences,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 60
, Article 5.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol60/iss4/5