First Advisor

Thomas A. Kindermann

Date of Publication

Summer 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Achievement motivation in children -- Case studies, Interpersonal relations in children -- Study and teaching (Elementary), Peer pressure in children -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (xi, 118 p.) : ill.


Students' classroom engagement is a strong predictor of positive educational outcomes including academic achievement, GPA, and standardized test scores. Most existing research has focused on the role of quality parenting and teaching in the development of student engagement. However, some research has shown small, yet significant effects of influences from students' peer groups on the development of their engagement. The goal of this study was to explore whether some children are more susceptible to the effects of their peer groups, and to examine a series of possible factors that might amplify the influence of a target students peer group on the development of that students' own engagement over the course of an academic year. In a re-analysis of an existing data set (Kindermann, 2007), peer group profiles of student engagement were examined as predictors of changes in individual engagement from fall to spring. It was expected that peer groups' levels of engagement would vary in their predictive power for changes in students' own engagement over the school year, depending upon individual levels of peer relatedness, the number of peers with whom the student affiliates with, student perceptions of parental involvement, as well as person-to-group differences in engagement. Gender differences were expected to be non-significant. As expected, results from two sets of analysis indicate no significant gender differences in susceptibility to peer influence. Furthermore, results suggest that susceptibility to peer influence on school engagement may depend upon the number of peers with whom a student affiliates with, parental involvement, as well as person-to-group differences in engagement. However, contrary to expectations, results suggest that a student's susceptibility to peer influence may not depend upon self-reported peer relatedness. Details of the analyses, results, strengths, limitations, and implications for future research are discussed.


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