Consistent with a holistic perspective emphasizing the integration of multiple individual characteristics within child systems, it was hypothesized that subgroups of anxious solitary (AS) children differentiated by agreeable, normal, attention-seeking, and externalizing behaviors would demonstrate enduring heterogeneity in peer relations over the last three years of elementary school, a period of relative ecological stability. Subgroup analyses were conducted with 661 children (mean age in third grade = 8.66 years, 51.6% female) who participated in peer sociometrics in the fall and spring of the third through fifth grades. Recess observations were conducted for a subset of these children (n = 227) once in the third and fourth grades and twice in fifth grade. About half of children retained the same subgroup classification from third through fourth and fifth grades--a significant pattern of stability. Results revealed some normative patterns of change (particularly for recess observations) and group-specific patterns of change in peer relations over time. However, the overarching pattern was stability and the preservation of initial between-group differences in peer relations over time. Taken together, results revealed that Agreeable AS children demonstrated significantly superior relational adaptation relative to other AS children, whereas Normative, Attention-seeking, and Externalizing AS children demonstrated successively worse relational adversity. Attention-seeking AS children engaged in particularly high rates of solitary directed behavior and were most ignored by peers. Both Attention-seeking AS and Externalizing AS children were most often victimized by peers.
Gazelle, Heidi and Shell, Madelynn D.
"Behavioral Profiles of Anxious Solitary Children: Predicting Peer Relations Trajectories from Third Through Fifth Grades,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 63:
2, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol63/iss2/4