Neglected children: what does it mean to be not noticed in school?

Assignment type: Thesis
Author: Jeremy Brown
Submitted: June 2015


Sociometrically neglected children are not noticed by their peers in class. They have few nominations for being liked most or liked least by their classmates. Considerable research demonstrates the importance of peer relationships in child development and those who have abnormal relationships (such as not-noticed children) should be at risk for poorer adjustment. However, not-noticed children have not been identified as being at risk for maladaptation and show few differences in behaviour from average children. A systematic review of the literature since 1991 was conducted focusing on not-noticed children and their sociability with peers in school. Eighteen studies were identified that investigated their social interactions, social understanding and social characteristics. Findings indicated very few differences between not-noticed children and average children for all three areas of sociability. A mixed-methods study investigated 202 primary school children’s social lives outside school and their social competence in school as well as not-noticed children’s conceptualisation of friendship. There were no differences between not-noticed children and average children for social competence in school or loneliness and friendship outside school. Two case studies provided insight into not-noticed children’s experiences and potential explanations for their lack of difficulties. Future areas for exploration with not-noticed children are their motivation to interact and their social lives outside school. Implications for educational psychology are discussed.

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