Children’s Informant Accuracy: A Social Information Processing Approach to Understanding Factors Affecting Accurate Social Network Recall Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Icard, Phil F.
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine how accurate students are at recalling their classroom social networks or their informant accuracy. An additional goal of this study was to examine the impact of aggression and popularity on informant accuracy at both the individual and group level. It was hypothesized that aggression and popularity would have differential relationships with informant accuracy across gender. Participants: A cohort of fifth grade students (n = 511) were recruited from two school districts in eastern North Carolina during the Spring of the 2002-2003 academic year. The sample was 55% female and 51% Caucasian. Methods: Participants in this study were asked to report from free recall the peer groups in their classrooms. Students and teachers were also given questionnaires assessing the social-behavioral characteristics of peers/students within their classrooms. Individual student reports of peer groups were compared to an overall aggregate socio-cognitive map to determine level of informant accuracy. Results: Informant accuracy was found to be negatively correlated with aggression in males and a positively correlated with aggression in females. Females were found to be more accurate at reporting classroom social networks than males (p < .01). Multivariate analysis of teacher ratings found significant interaction effects for aggression x gender (p < .001) and aggression x popularity (p < .01). Analysis of peer ratings found significant multivariate effects for aggression x gender (p < .01) and aggression x popularity x gender (p < .05). Females rated as aggressive by their peers had increased informant accuracy compared to non-aggressive girls. No group-level differences were found in relation to informant accuracy. Descriptive statistics were reported for an exploratory analysis of special education status. Conclusions: The results of this study suggested that being an aggressive girl may be beneficial in terms of accurate recall of social networks in late childhood. For males aggression appears to have a negative relationship with informant accuracy although this finding was supported only by correlational analysis. Limitations of the current study and directions for future research are discussed.
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  • Hamm, Jill
  • Open access

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