Date of Award

1983

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

William Vosburgh

Abstract

This research was undertaken to examine the role-taking construct as being a composite of two different component abilities, interrelating multiple elements and controlling the self. Each of these abilities was examined developmentally, and in relationship to social acceptance, intelligence and socioeconomic status. Developmental psychologists have stated that role-taking is an important social-cognitive ability for appropriate social behavior and peer acceptance. In a similar manner, research has linked a delay in role-taking ability to peer acceptance problems in certain populations. In this study, the multidimensionality of role-taking and its relationship to social acceptance in normal elementary school population is examined.

A sample of 90 students from grades 2, 4, and 6 were categorized as popular, isolated, and rejected and individually administered the role-taking and intelligence measures. The socioeconomic information was obtained from the children's parents.

The results of the correlational analysis indicated that the abilities to interrelate multiple elements and control the self were statistically related. However, the practical relationship between the two abilities was negligible. The pattern of development was different for these two abilities. Interrelating multiple elements increased at a similar rate across grade levels. Controlling the self-increased significantly from the 2nd to 4th grade, with no significant increase from the 4th to 6th grade. Only controlling the self was significantly related to social acceptance; popular children performed better than isolated and rejected, and isolated did better than the rejected. Intelligence and controlling the self were the most effective variables at discriminating and classifying social acceptance groups.

The results of this study suggest that role-taking may not be a unitary construct and that each of the component abilities develop at a different rate. Only the ability to control the self seems to be important toward actual social acceptance, Implications of these results for future research are discussed.

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