Effects of experimentally-induced peer group rejection on children’s risk-taking behaviour.
This study assessed the immediate causal effect of peer-group rejection on children's state anxiety and self-esteem, as well as their risk-taking behaviour. Children (n = 44) aged 8 and 10 years participated in a minimal group study in which they were accepted or rejected by a peer group, following which their anxiety, self-esteem, and risk-taking behaviour were assessed. The findings revealed that peer rejection caused a substantial increase in the children's anxiety, but did not affect their self-esteem. It was also found that peer status interacted with age to influence the children's risk-taking behaviour. Following peer rejection, children's risk-taking behaviour was significantly greater at 10 compared with 8 years of age. In contrast, following peer acceptance, their risk-taking was significantly lower at 10 compared with 8 years of age. The implications of the findings for research on peer-group rejection and risk-taking behaviour are discussed.
European Journal of Developmental Psychology