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Child Dev. 2005 Mar-Apr;76(2):309-23.

Need for approval and children's well-being.

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1
Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL 61820, USA. krudolph@uiuc.edu

Abstract

This research examined the hypothesis that a tendency to base one's self-worth on peer approval is associated with positive and negative aspects of children's well-being. A sample of 153 fourth through eighth graders (9.0 to 14.8 years) reported on need for approval, global self-worth, social-evaluative concerns, anxiety and depression, and exposure to victimization. Teachers reported on social behavior. Results confirmed that need for approval is a two-dimensional construct composed of positive (enhanced self-worth in the face of social approval) and negative (diminished self-worth in the face of social disapproval) approval-based self-appraisals. Need for approval had trade-offs for well-being that depended on the dimension (positive vs. negative), the psychological domain (emotional vs. social adjustment), children's sex and age, and children's social context (high vs. low peer victimization).

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