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Causes and Consequences of Social Exclusion and Peer Rejection Among Children and Adolescents  

Author:  Kelly Lynn Mulvey.; Corey Boswell.; Jiali Zheng.

Source: Volume 17, Number 30, Summer 2017 , pp.71-75(5)

Emotional & Behavioral Disorders in Youth 2017

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Children and adolescents frequently experience both interpersonal and intergroup exclusion or peer rejection. Interpersonal and intergroup exclusion in childhood reflects different, but interconnected, processes and can have serious and lasting consequences for children’s behavioral health and positive social development. Interpersonal exclusion is frequently the result of social deficits, emotional or behavioral disorders, or individual differences in temperament, such as wariness and anxiety. In contrast, intergroup exclusion focuses on how in-group/out-group attitudes contribute to social exclusion based on group membership, such as gender, race, ethnicity, culture, and nationality. There is often an assumption that victims of exclusion invite this rejection, and interventions frequently target changing the behavior of victims. However, a broader approach encouraging excluders (as well as observant bystanders) to adopt more inclusive attitudes, and to welcome those who exhibit differences both in terms of temperament and group membership, may be more effective. This manuscript reviews causes and consequences of interpersonal and intergroup exclusion and provides recommendations for practitioners seeking to foster inclusive environments and promote positive social development among children and adolescents.

Keywords: Social exclusion, peer rejection, children and adolescents, psychological harm, intervention outcomes

Affiliations:  1: University of South Carolina; 2: University of South Carolina; 3: University of South Carolina.

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