Sociometric Status and Children's Peer Experiences: Use of the Daily Diary Method

Elementary school children completed a daily diary indicating specific peer encounters that had occurred that day at school and participated in sociometric surveys. Diary items assessed three categories of negative peer encounters (physical victimization, social victimization, exclusion) and two categories of positive encounters (positive interactions, participation in activities). Psychometric analyses supported the distinction of these categories. Children's reports of negative peer experiences were associated with their reputations as assessed by sociometric nominations (i.e., low social preference, aggression, withdrawal, and low leadership). Children who were poorly liked or viewed as exhibiting undesirable characteristics encountered more peer mistreatment, while children who were well liked or viewed as exhibiting positive characteristics encountered less. Children's reports of positive encounters were not associated with their social reputations. Consistent with the premise that aggressive-rejected children experience a "kinder" social context than their less aggressive counterparts, aggressive-rejected boys reported fewer instances of negative treatment than withdrawn-rejected boys.