Social preference choices in late elementary school: Within and across group nominations


  • This research was supported by grants H325C020106 and H324C040230 from the Office of Special Education Programs of the Department of Education and R305030162 from the Institute of Education Sciences. The views expressed in this article are ours and do not represent the granting agencies.


This study examined the social preference nominations (i.e., “liked most” and “liked least”) in relation to peer group and classroom social dynamics in a sample of 622 fifth graders from 11 schools in a southeastern state. Liked most and liked least nominations were given to a small concentration of students within classrooms. The top five nominees for liked most and liked least tended to be in peer groups and associated with at least one classmate who shared their position as a top nominee. The majority of liked most nominations in a classroom were made toward members inside the nominator's group, whereas the majority of liked least nominations were made toward peers outside one's group. Students in the same peer group were more likely to nominate the same peers as liked most than were students who did not affiliate together. In contrast, the concordance for liked least nominations was moderate at both the peer-group and classroom level. Implications for school-based social interventions are discussed. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.