Children’s classroom peer relationships and early school attitudes: Concurrent and longitudinal associations

Gary W. Ladd, Cynthia C. Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to further explore the linkage between children’s early school attitudes and interpersonal features of the classroom, including children’s relationships with classmates and their perceptions of these relationships. Participants included 102 kindergarten children (M age= 5.8 years) who were interviewed at the beginning and end of kindergarten to obtain measures of their school attitudes (i.e., school liking), classroom peer relationships (i.e., peer acceptance, mutual friendships), and peer relationship perceptions (i.e., perceived loneliness, peer support). Results showed that initial school liking was associated with all four measures of children’s peer relationships; however, only the number of mutual friendships that children possessed in their classrooms predicted changes in school attitudes (gains) over time. Early school attitudes were linked to changes in children’s peer perceptions; children who disliked school early in kindergarten were more likely to view classmates as unsupportive as the school year progressed. Results are discussed in terms of the potential impact that classroom peer relations may have on early school attitudes, and vice versa. Implications for educational policy are also considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-66
Number of pages16
JournalEarly education and development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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