ERIC Number: ED280097
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Preadolescent Support Networks: Evidence for the Peer Counselor Construct.
Waltman, Patricia Amason
Based on the belief that preadolescence is a highly stressful time of development and a period when people need support from peers to cope with stress, a network analysis was used to examine the social support networks of preadolescents and the behavior of central network members. Subjects, 24 sixth-grade children, completed specially constructed questionnaires concerning peer networks. In addition, to determine degrees of acceptance, rejection, and supportiveness, each child was asked to nominate three classmates with whom they most liked to play and three with whom they least liked to play. The number of nominations each received (categorized as "peer counselor" nominations) was used as an index of perceived supportiveness. Results indicated that children's social networks were clearly distinguishable by the roles played by their members and that the children perceived by peers as most supportive exhibited behaviors resembling those of natural peer counselors, and were the most highly accepted members of the peer group. Results also confirmed that children can accurately identify members of their network and the types of interactions among members, and that support is indeed a salient feature of preadolescent friendship. Finally, the results offer further support for the construct of the "peer counselor" as identified by Burleson and Waltman. (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Joint Meeting of the Central States Speech Association and the Southern Speech Communication Association (St. Louis, MO, April 9-12, 1987).