Key factors helping kids avoid social rejection identifiedJanuary 21st, 2010 - 7:21 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Jan 21 (IANS) Researchers have identified three key factors in a child’s behaviour that can lead them to avoid social rejection.
Findings from a pair of studies indicate that the ability to pick up on non-verbal and social cues as well as recognise the meaning and respond appropriately to them are key to helping children develop skills to maintain friendships.
A child who experiences social rejection is more likely to suffer from academic failure, drop out of school, experience depression or anxiety, and experiment with drugs.
“Children’s ability to develop positive peer relationships is critical to their well-being,” said Clark McKown, principal study investigator and associate executive director and research director at the Rush University Neurobehavioural Centre.
“Compared to children who are accepted by their peers, socially rejected children are at substantially elevated risk for later adjustment troubles.”
Researchers observed two groups of children. One was a random sample of 158 in the Chicago school system. The other group was a random sample of 126 clinic-referred children.
The studies indicate that some children have difficulty picking up on non-verbal or social cues. “They simply don’t notice the way someone’s shoulders slump with disappointment,… or take in whether a person’s face shows anger or sadness,” said McKown.
A second major factor is that some children may pick up on non-verbal or social cues, but lack the ability to attach meaning to them. The third factor is the ability to reason about social problems, said a Rush University release.
The studies are a crucial step in developing sound screening tests and treatment planning for social-emotional learning difficulties.
Nearly 13 percent of the school age population, or roughly four million children nationwide, have social-emotional learning difficulties.
The results from the studies are published in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.
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