What's Your Teens Sociometric Status?

How Your Teen's Sociometric Status Affects Their Life Now and in the Future

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Your teen's sociometric status is an indicator of how he or she is viewed by their peers. Researchers use sociometric statuses to better understand the behaviors and outcomes of kids who have different types of peer relationships. Sociometric status is also known as peer status. The results of your teen's sociometric statuses can affect their future in terms of social functioning in both friendships and relationships.

Sociometric status may also have a bearing on your teen views themselves.

How Sociometric Status is Measured

Sociometric statuses are determined in a variety of ways by different researchers. Most methods involve asking kids what they think of the other children in their class. For instance, the kids may be asked to nominate the three kids that they like the least and the most in the class. Or kids may be asked to rank every child in the class in terms of likeability. Some researchers directly observe kids' interactions instead of asking the children for their opinions. Other researchers ask teachers instead of the children.

Five Categories of Sociometric Statuses

Many researchers use a five category system of sociometric statuses. These include:

Not all researchers agree with these categories, however, and there is some debate about the usefulness of sociometric categories in general.

Sociometric Status and Interpersonal Skills

If your teen is accepted by his peer group, it may be a good thing for his interpersonal skills into adulthood. However, negative outcomes doesn't mean that your teen will automatically have trouble developing social skills. What seems to me matter most is how your teen feels about their own social success.

Teens who are comfortable with where they fit in socially seem to do better at developing positive interpersonal skills. The reason for this may be that your teen's self-efficacy, or expectations about how they will be treated, shapes emotional and behavioral outcomes. 

Does Your Teen Care About Sociometric Status?

While sociometric status matters greatly for social functioning in teens, if your teen puts little importance on peer acceptance, they may be better at adjusting in different social situations, and ultimately enjoy established relationships better than teens who place a high importance on social acceptance. There's a balancing act between raising a teen to be resilient socially and also have self-acceptance. If you teach your teen to put less importance on what others think, you will equip them with the tools to be successful socially well into adulthood.

Related terms: average child, controversial children, popular children, rejected child, neglected child

Sources:

Sherman, Lawrence W. Sociometry in the classroom: How to do it. Accessed July 9, 2011: http://www.users.muohio.edu/shermalw/sociometryfiles/socio_variation.htmlx

Wentzel, Kathryn R., & Asher, Steven R. The Academic Lives of Neglected, Rejected, Popular, and Controversial Children. Child Development. 1995. 66:754-763.

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