|Abstract or Summary
- The purpose of this paper was to study the relationship between
a child's self concept and his social acceptance, following the Mead-Cooley symbolic interactionist framework. The specific objective
of the study was to determine whether or not there is a relationship
between the child's concept of himself and the degree to which he is
accepted by his peers.
The general hypothesis tested was the following: A child's self
concept is related to his social acceptance among his peers in his
nursery school group.
The subjects were the children between the ages of four years
six months to five years four months in attendance at the Orchard
Street Nursery School, Oregon State University, during the spring
term, 1967. Sixteen children -- nine girls and seven boys -- were
studied. In order to test the hypothesis , an adaptation of Creelman's
Children's Self Concept Test was used to measure self concept. The
test consists of 11 sets of simple line drawing pictures of the cartoon
type. The situations are those which are commonly experienced by
children in the western culture and relate to the child's body image,
his relations with his family, his relations with other children, and
his attitudes toward certain social expectations. The children were
asked to make their choices according to three criteria: (a) the one
liked best and the one liked least; (b) the picture most like himself
and the picture least like himself; and (c) the "good" and the "bad"
McCandless and Marshall's picture sociometric technique was
used to measure the degree to which individuals are accepted in the
group, that is, peer acceptance. The children were photographed,
the pictures mounted, then the children were asked to select first,
second and third choices of playmates for each of three activities:
outside play, listening to stories and inside play.
The child's social acceptance score was the sum of the choices
of the child as a playmate by all the subjects for any and all the interview
The ordinal data from the ranks of the children's self concept
test and the picture sociometric test was analyzed by the Spearman
rank-order correlation coefficient, used to measure the degree of association existing between the two ranked variables.
The rank-order correlation coefficient of ρ = .03 was found
between the self concept test ranks and the total peer acceptance
score ranks. This was not significant and the null hypothesis that
there was no relationship between self concept and peer acceptance
could not be rejected.
Several factors were reviewed which may have accounted for
the lack of a significant relationship between self concept and peer
1) The low coefficient of internal consistency for the self concept
test may have influenced the results of the test. If the test is
not as reliable as it should be, it seems reasonable to doubt the
accuracy of the self concept-peer acceptance correlation.
2) It may also be possible that the children were not focusing
on the intended action as they selected pictures that they liked and
disliked, that were like and unlike them, and those that were good and bad. The children may have been more concerned with the details
of the pictures.
3) The appropriateness of line drawings for the self concept
test was questioned as influencing the results of the study.
4) It appeared that the children had a tendency to select pictures
in one position.
5) Assuming that the tests were valid, it was questioned
whether or not the nursery school peers are considered as "significant
others". It may perhaps be too early in development for peers
to be considered significant. It appeared that the children may not
spend enough time together to have established attitudes and values
with each other.
Several research directions seem justified on the basis of this
1) repetition of this study with an older group.
2) testing an hypothesis concerning the relationship between
the parents' self concepts and the child's self concept.
3) testing an hypothesis concerning the parent's attitude toward
the child and child-rearing practices and the child's self concept.