Why Do Children Become Rejected by Their Peers? A Review of Studies into the Relationship Between Oral Communicative Competence and Sociometric Status in Childhood

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Abstract

Being rejected by peers has devastating consequences for a child’s future social-cognitive development. It is therefore important to investigate factors that contribute to childhood peer rejection. In doing so, the present review specifically focused on sociometric status, a concept that refers to a child’s position within the peer group (e.g., liked or disliked). Although previous studies indicated that children’s ability to communicate effectively might partly determine their sociometric status, much was still unclear about this relation. Therefore, in the present review, a total of 25 studies into the relation between children’s (aged 1 to 12 years) level of oral communicative competence and their sociometric status was systematically reviewed. Results generally pointed to a significant relation between the two variables. Specifically, rejected children communicate less responsive compared with popular children. However, several gaps in previous research were identified, resulting in five recommendations for future studies. First, the complexity of the construct of oral communicative competence asks for an approach in which multiple methods are combined (i.e., mixed methods). Second, future studies should be conducted in non-western countries as well to study possible cross-cultural differences. Third, as the majority of researches were small-scale exploratory studies, future research should include larger samples in order to generalize the findings outside the sample. Fourth, future studies should adopt longitudinal and experimental designs to investigate the direction of the relation of interest. And finally, as previous research showed that the interactional context, gender, and age might influence the relation between oral communicative competence and sociometric status, future studies could take these factors into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-724
Number of pages26
JournalEducational Psychology Review
Volume31
Issue number3
Early online date19 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Childhood
  • Gender differences
  • Interactional context
  • Oral communicative competence
  • Pragmatic language
  • Social communication
  • Sociometric status

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