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Models Of Internalizing Outcomes Of Early Rejection

Virginia Salzer Burks, Kenneth A. Dodge, Joseph M. Price

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AbstractViewing social rejection from same-age peers as a source of stress for children, the current study sought to determine the most appropriate model of the effects of temporary versus consistent experiences with rejection for both short-term and long-term internalizing problems. Adopting a cross-sectional longitudinal design, the sociometric status of children in the first year of the study (when the children were in the first, second, or third grades), and then again in the next school year (when children were in the second, third, or fourth grades) was assessed to determine which children were rejected by their peers. Internalizing outcome measures were administered in the third and sixth years of follow-up. Results indicated that, for boys, the Threshold Model best represented the stressful effects of rejection. That is, only boys who were exposed to rejection for 2 consecutive years demonstrated both short-term and long-term internalizing problems in subsequent years. For girls, however, there appeared to be few significant differences among those who never experienced rejection, who had only temporary experiences with rejection, and girls who were consistently exposed to rejection. Results are discussed in terms of the significance of a Threshold Model as well as possible explanations for these gender differences.