Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Ninety-two 7- to 9-year-old children (47 girls) were observed while attempting to join two relatively unfamiliar same- or opposite-sex peers who were playing a board game. Female guests were less obtrusive than male guests in their entry approaches, whereas male guests were more active and assertive. Guests were less behaviorally constrained when approaching same- than opposite-sex hosts. Female hosts were more socially attentive to the guests than male hosts, who tended to ignore the newcomers. Entry outcomes were best predicted by the joint contributions of the guests' and hosts' gender and behavior. Successful guests performed activity-related behavior, received initiations from the hosts, and responded contingently to host initiations. Since female hosts initiated more behavior to the guests than male hosts, and female guests were more contingently responsive than male guests, girls entering female groups were the most successful. These findings support the thesis that peer group entry is an interactional phenomenon affected by the personal characteristics and contexts of both the entering children and their hosts.



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