Lunchroom-Specific Peer Acceptance and Children's Internalizing Symptoms
Prior research suggests the elementary school lunchroom is an important context for children’s social development. Using a sample of 659 fourth-grade students in 10 public schools (50.7% female; 42.7% Hispanic/Latinx, 30.3% White, 10% Pacific Islander, 7.8% bi/multiracial, 2.2% American Indian, 2.2% Black, 1.9% Asian, and 2.9% other), we examined the association between lunchroom-specific peer acceptance and internalizing symptoms (i.e., depression and social anxiety symptoms). We hypothesized that lunchroom peer acceptance would predict self-rated depression and social anxiety symptoms when controlling for social preference scores. Using hierarchical linear modeling, results indicated self-rated lunchtime peer acceptance scores in December significantly predicted depression symptoms in May when controlling social preference scores and accounted for changes in depression scores across a school year. However, some significant gender differences emerged. Results suggest that elementary school lunchroom interventions should attend to children’s perceptions of lunchroom likability and their experiences of depression symptoms.
Child Psychiatry & Human Development
Steggerda, J. C.,
Pastrana Rivera, F. A.,
Craig, J. T.,
Cavell, T. A.
(2023). Lunchroom-Specific Peer Acceptance and Children's Internalizing Symptoms. Child Psychiatry & Human Development.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/20600