How do young adults remember their childhood social status? A retrospective analysis of peer-rejection in childhood and adolescence, and protective factors predictive of its remission

Thomas P. Gumpel, Katty Vainroj Ish-Shalom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this retrospective study we investigated possible protective factors involved in the remission of childhood peer-rejection by investigation of how adults remember their childhood social status. This study aimed: (a) to investigate whether most children do, indeed, achieve improved social status in late adolescence or early adulthood, (b) whether this is true also for children experiencing peer-rejection in childhood, (c) to investigate potential protective factors which may predict improved status, and (d) to investigate the subjective recall of social status. We developed an index of social rejection, based on recalled severity of rejection and its duration. Respondents (n = 940) were also asked about the presence or absence of a series of potential protective factors during three periods in their lives: elementary school, secondary school, and post-secondary (compulsory military or national service). Most respondents, who reported poor social status during childhood, also reported a marked improvement in that status in late adolescence. Factors most common for respondents who underwent an improvement in social status are examined for respondents who self-reported both peer-acceptance and peer-rejection during childhood or adolescence. Respondents who reported severe peer-rejection were able to rely on fewer protective factors than their more accepted peers. The data, similar to previous research, stresses the need to focus on the salutary potential in the rejected child's family. Implications for practice in working with peer-rejected children are presented.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)129-157
Number of pages29
JournalSocial Psychology of Education
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2003

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