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Does Chronic Classroom Peer Rejection Predict the Development of Children’s Classroom Participation During the Grade School Years?


  • This investigation was conducted as part of the Pathways Project, a larger longitudinal investigation of children’s social/psychological/scholastic adjustment in school contexts that is supported by the National Institutes of Health (1 RO1MH-49223, 2-RO1MH-49223, and R01HD-045906 to Gary W. Ladd). Special appreciation is expressed to all the children and parents who made this study possible and to members of the Pathways Project for assistance with data collection. Portions of this study were reported in a master’s thesis that was completed by Sarah L. Herald-Brown at Arizona State University, and the authors gratefully acknowledge committee members Becky Kochenderfer-Ladd and William Fabricius for their cogent contributions.

concerning this article should be addressed to Gary W. Ladd or Sarah L. Herald-Brown, P.O. Box 853701, School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-3701. Electronic mail may be sent to or to


A sample of 398 children was followed up from ages 5 to 12 to investigate the relation between peer group rejection and classroom participation. The participation trajectories of individuals and groups of children who were rejected for differing periods of time were examined both during and after rejection using piecewise growth curve analyses. The results showed that whereas during periods of rejection, children exhibited negative or negligible growth in participation, when nonrejected, they manifested positive growth. These findings corroborated the hypothesis that (a) peer rejection creates constraints that inhibit children’s classroom participation and (b) the cessation of rejection enables children to become more active and cooperative participants in classroom activities.