ERIC Number: ED283113
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Relationship of Body Type, Sociometric Ratings, and Self-Perceptions in Children.
Summerville, Mary B.; And Others
While clinical populations of obese children have been shown to possess negative self-images, little evidence exists that overweight children in non-clinical populations are discriminated against by their peers or possess negative psychological self-evaluations. A study was conducted to examine the relationship among body type, sociometric measures, and self-evaluations in first-, third-, and fifth-graders. Subjects (N=143) had heights and weights taken, responded to sociometric questionnaires, rated their liking for class members, nominated the three classmates they liked the most and the three they liked the least, and completed grade appropriate forms of the Harter Self-Perception Scale. Weight percentile was found to significantly predict sociometric ratings and social preference scores for first graders, with obese children receiving lower evaluations than nonobese children. Body type was not significantly related to any of the sociometric measures for other grades. The subscales on the self-perception assessment differentially predicted sociometric measures at the three ages. These findings suggest that overweight young children are affected by a social stigma. The best predictors of sociometry for first graders were the mother-child relationship, perceptions of peer acceptance, and concrete characteristics such as body type. With development, family ties and body type appeared to give way to more psychological attributes such as perceptions of social acceptance, behavioral adequacy, and physical appearance. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association (33rd, Atlanta, GA, March 25-28, 1987).