Children form cliques and exclude others from their social groups for complex reasons, suggests a review of studies on social structures by researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park.
The researchers examined two models when trying to define how children make decisions about including or excluding other children from their social groups, according to the study, which was published in the February edition of Current Directions in Psychological Science. One model found that rejection occurs because of a child’s social awkwardness, including being shy or fearful. Another model found rejection happens because of factors including group dynamics, bias, and prejudice. The researchers also found that age can be a significant factor, because as children get older they’re more aware of group dynamics, conventions, and customs.
A version of this article appeared in the March 07, 2007 edition of Education Week