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Child Dev. 1990 Aug;61(4):1081-100.

Having friends, keeping friends, making friends, and being liked by peers in the classroom: predictors of children's early school adjustment?

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  • 1Department of Educational Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 61820-6990.


The potential role that children's classroom peer relations play in their school adjustment was investigated during the first 2 months of kindergarten and the remainder of the school year. Measures of 125 children's classroom peer relationships were obtained on 3 occasions: at school entrance, after 2 months of school, and at the end of the school year. Measures of school adjustment, including children's school perceptions, anxiety, avoidance, and performance, were obtained during the second and third assessment occasions. After controlling mental age, sex, and preschool experience, measures of children's classroom peer relationships were used to forecast later school adjustment. Results indicated that children with a larger number of classroom friends during school entrance developed more favorable school perceptions by the second month, and those who maintained these relationships liked school better as the year progressed. Making new friends in the classroom was associated with gains in school performance, and early peer rejection forecasted less favorable school perceptions, higher levels of school avoidance, and lower performance levels over the school year.

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