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Peer Relationships in African American Adolescents: The Role of Cognitive Functioning

Craig, Anna Elizabeth (2007) Peer Relationships in African American Adolescents: The Role of Cognitive Functioning. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Developmental research on social functioning has consistently demonstrated an association between peer reports of a child's social functioning and adjustment in multiple domains. Because peer reports of social functioning have demonstrated stability and predictive power for subsequent behavioral and emotional functioning, there is a strong interest in gaining a better understanding of factors that contribute to variation in peer reports of a child's social behavior and acceptance. The current study examined the relationship between an individual child's cognitive functioning and peer reports of the same child's social functioning for an inner city urban sample of 116 African American adolescents, ages 14 to 17. Cognitive data were obtained utilizing an extensive neuropsychological battery and one-to-one testing. Social functioning data were obtained in classrooms from peers and teachers.A significant association was demonstrated between IQ-Achievement (IQA) and reciprocated friendships, with higher IQA scores associated with a greater number of reciprocated friendships. When specific aspects of cognitive functioning (attention, visual-spatial skills, motor skills, memory, executive functioning) were considered in combination with IQA, only attention was linked to social outcomes; poorer attentional abilities were associated with fewer peer reported popular-leadership behaviors. Two significant IQA interactions also emerged: an interaction between IQA and memory skills for teacher-reported aggressive disruptive behavior, and an interaction between IQA and motor skills for reciprocatedfriendships. All significant findings were of small to medium effect. The absence of significant findings and modest size of the few significant results that were obtained suggests that, in the current sample of African American inner city youth, our measures of neurocognitive functioning were marginally related to peer perceptions of the adolescent's social functioning. While replication is needed, results are discussed considering the role of contextual factors (e.g., age, race, SES), issues related to measurement of cognitive ability, and implications for existing models of social and cognitive development.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Craig, Anna Elizabethaec22@pitt.eduAEC22
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairNoll, Robert
Committee MemberMarsland, Anna Lmarsland@pitt.eduMARSLAND
Committee MemberHowe, Steven
Committee MemberCampbell, Susan Bsbcamp@pitt.eduSBCAMP
Date: 13 June 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 8 September 2006
Approval Date: 13 June 2007
Submission Date: 4 April 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: minority populations; neurocognitive functioning; social adjustment
Other ID:, etd-04042007-162047
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:34
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:38


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