Language Abilities and Peer Rejection in Kindergarten: A Mediation Analysis

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Rejection by peers has devastating effects on children’s social-cognitive development. As language difficulties have been found to be one of the underlying causes of peer rejection, the present study focused on the relation between these two variables. Specifically, this study was the first to test a hypothesized model connecting children’s level of receptive vocabulary knowledge to the extent to which they are rejected by their peers, through their ability to communicate effectively. A sample of N = 135 children (aged four to six) participated in the study. Their receptive vocabulary knowledge was assessed with the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, the level of oral communicative competence was measured using the Nijmegen Test for Pragmatics, and peer rejection was indicated by means of a nomination procedure. Research Findings: Outcomes of mediation analyses revealed that children’s receptive vocabulary knowledge was indirectly related to peer rejection, through oral communicative competence: Poor receptive vocabulary knowledge was associated with poor oral communicative competence, which was in turn related to a higher level of peer rejection. Gender was not a significant moderator in this model. Practice or Policy: Findings suggest the need to focus both on oral communicative competence and on receptive vocabulary knowledge when addressing peer rejection in kindergarten.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalEARLY EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jun 2019

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Aptitude
kindergarten
Vocabulary
mediation
vocabulary
communicative competence
Language
Mental Competency
ability
language
Language Tests
cognitive development
moderator
social development
Rejection (Psychology)
pragmatics
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
cause
gender

Cite this

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title = "Language Abilities and Peer Rejection in Kindergarten: A Mediation Analysis",
abstract = "Rejection by peers has devastating effects on children’s social-cognitive development. As language difficulties have been found to be one of the underlying causes of peer rejection, the present study focused on the relation between these two variables. Specifically, this study was the first to test a hypothesized model connecting children’s level of receptive vocabulary knowledge to the extent to which they are rejected by their peers, through their ability to communicate effectively. A sample of N = 135 children (aged four to six) participated in the study. Their receptive vocabulary knowledge was assessed with the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, the level of oral communicative competence was measured using the Nijmegen Test for Pragmatics, and peer rejection was indicated by means of a nomination procedure. Research Findings: Outcomes of mediation analyses revealed that children’s receptive vocabulary knowledge was indirectly related to peer rejection, through oral communicative competence: Poor receptive vocabulary knowledge was associated with poor oral communicative competence, which was in turn related to a higher level of peer rejection. Gender was not a significant moderator in this model. Practice or Policy: Findings suggest the need to focus both on oral communicative competence and on receptive vocabulary knowledge when addressing peer rejection in kindergarten.",
author = "{van der Wilt}, Femke and {van der Veen}, Chiel and {van Kruistum}, Claudia and {van Oers}, Bert",
year = "2019",
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Language Abilities and Peer Rejection in Kindergarten : A Mediation Analysis. / van der Wilt, Femke; van der Veen, Chiel; van Kruistum, Claudia; van Oers, Bert.

In: EARLY EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT, 11.06.2019, p. 1-15.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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