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3 key factors to help children avoid social rejection identified
Date:1/20/2010

(CHICAGO) Neurobehavioral researchers at Rush University Medical Center have found three key factors in a child's behavior that can lead to social rejection. The studies are a crucial step in developing scientifically sound screening tests and treatment planning for social-emotional learning difficulties. The results from the studies are published in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

Findings from the pair of studies indicate that the ability to pick up on non-verbal cues and social cues in social interaction as well as recognize the meaning and respond appropriately to them are key to helping children develop skills to maintain friendships and avoid a host of problems in later life.

A child who experiences social rejection is more likely to suffer from academic failure, drop out of school, experience depression or anxiety, and experiment with drugs.

"Children's ability to develop positive peer relationships is critical to their well-being," said Dr. Clark McKown, study principal investigator and associate executive director and research director at the Rush Neurobehavioral Center. "Compared to children who are accepted by their peers, socially rejected children are at substantially elevated risk for later adjustment troubles."

Researchers observed two groups of children. One was a random sample of 158 children in the Chicago school system. The other group was a random sample of 126 clinic-referred children.

The studies indicate that some children have difficulty picking up on non-verbal or social cues.

According to McKown, "They simply don't notice the way someone's shoulders slump with disappointment, or hear the change in someone's voice when they are excited, or take in whether a person's face shows anger or sadness."

A second major factor is that some children may pick up on non-verbal or social cues, but lack the ability to attach meaning to them. The thir
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Contact: Deb Song
deb_song@rush.edu
312-942-0588
Rush University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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