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27-04-2017 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 1/2018

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 1/2018

Peer Exclusion During the Pubertal Transition: The Role of Social Competence

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 1/2018
Auteurs:
Rona Carter, Amira Halawah, Sarah L. Trinh
Belangrijke opmerkingen

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Abstract

For some youth, early puberty is accompanied by peer exclusion. Yet early developers may experience less peer exclusion if they have social competence, which would bolster their ability to develop and maintain positive relationships with their peers. Accordingly, the present study tests whether pubertal timing and tempo predicts decrements in children’s social competence and whether decrements in social competence account for associations between puberty (timing and tempo) and peer exclusion over time. Longitudinal data were drawn from 1364 families (48% female; 76% White; M = 9.32 years, SD = .48, at Wave 3) who participated in Waves 3–5 (i.e., grades 4–6) of Phase III of the NICHD-SECCYD. The results from latent growth curve models indicated that earlier pubertal timing and more rapid pubertal tempo among girls were associated with high initial levels of peer exclusion. Moreover, mediation analyses revealed that early developers’ susceptibility to peer exclusion was associated with their initial level of social competence. In boys, pubertal timing and tempo were not directly associated with peer exclusion; instead, indirect effects of pubertal timing on peer exclusion (intercept, slope) occurred through initial levels of social competence. On average, early developers’ who had low levels of social competence also had high initial levels of peer exclusion but experienced decrements in peer exclusion over time. The association between the intercepts for puberty and peer exclusion and the slopes for social competence and peer exclusion were stronger for boys than girls. Overall, our findings suggest that early developers’ susceptibility to and experiences of peer exclusion are associated with their development of social competence.

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