Factors Predicting Peer Likability in Preschool: A Path Model
Ms. Cheung Hoi Shan
(PhD candidate, Psychology Department, NUS)
Date : Tuesday, 28 August 2012
Venue : AS4-02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)
Time : 4.00pm – 5.00pm
Past research has shown that having supportive relationships with peers are particularly advantageous to children’s development. Given this, a meaningful endeavour in child development research would be to identify factors that predict children’s peer likability. Using attachment theory as a theoretical framework, the present study examined how maternal sensitivity, temperament (shyness) and language ability are associated with preschoolers’ peer likability. Participants were 141 mother-child dyads in Singapore. Children were between ages 4 and 6. Fieldwork involved observing each mother and child in a 30-minute free play session, and interviewing the child’s classmates and teacher with regards to his or her likability. Contrary to findings based on Western samples, the results showed that the more sensitive mothers were, the more poorly children fared in terms of peer likability. Shyness helped in children’s peer likability in preschool, but only by female classmates. Language variables were not associated with maternal sensitivity and peer likability, but were instead full mediators in the association between shyness and teacher’s rating of peer relations. The present study brought to light the importance of taking cultural context into consideration in examining influences on children’s social development. The findings also added to the currently limited literature on parent-child relationships in multicultural Singapore.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Hoi Shan is a PhD student under the supervision of A/P John Elliott from the Department of Psychology, NUS. She has research interests in local parenting practices, attachment and children’s peer relations. She has worked as a Research Officer at the Singapore Children’s Society for a few years before returning to NUS to pursue her graduate studies.