Peer acceptance and friendship quality during middle childhood : family influences and links to well-being

Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Mary J. Levitt

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Wendy K. Silverman

Third Advisor's Name

Lowell J. Krokoff

Fourth Advisor's Name

Timothy Iverson


Interpersonal relations in children, Social interaction in children, Children, Social networks

Date of Defense



This study examines (a) the influence that social network characteristics have on peer relations, (b) the contribution of peer relations to well-being within the context of the child's network of relations, and (c) the extent to which the findings are culture specific or generalize across ethnic groups. The sample included 185 fifth-grade children (90 boys; 95 girls) from three ethnic groups (African-, Angloand Hispanic-American). During an initial group-administered session, peer ratings of acceptance, friendship nominations, and a loneliness scale were administered. Children were subsequently interviewed individually. The interview consisted of measures of the child's social support network, friendship quality, self-esteem, and depression. The results indicate that (a) there are some associations between network characteristics and peer relations, (b) peer relations contribute to the child's well-being after considering the contribution of family relations, and (c) there are some variations by ethnicity.



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