PERSONAL SOCIAL NETWORKS AND MENTAL HEALTH IN CHILDREN
KEITER, GALE COREN
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This study explored competence in preadolescents within the framework of the child's personal social network. In order to assess children's networks, the investigator developed the Social Network Interview based on George Homans theoretical model of group behavior. The relationship between competence and various aspects of children's personal social networks was then examined.;Fifty subjects between the ages of 11 and 16 participated in this study: 15 were at high genetic risk for the development of schizophrenia, 17 were at risk for affective disorders, and 18 subjects were the offspring of psychiatrically normal individuals.;Subjects were individually administered the Friendship and Social Network Interviews and the Columbia Psychiatric Interview for Children and Adolescents (COLPICA). Each child's overall mental health or competence was rated using the Global Assessment Scale embedded in the COLPICA.;It was hypothesized that personal social networks of highly competent children would consist of a greater number of sentiments, interactions, activities, and more support than the networks of less adaptively performing subjects. The results indicated that competent children engaged in significantly more interactions (particularly with their parents) and reported more negative sentiments than less competently functioning youngsters. The networks of competent children were found to contain slightly (but not significantly) more activities, positive sentiments and support than the networks of less competently functioning youngsters.;It was further postulated that the networks of competent youngsters would differ from those of less adaptively behaving children in terms of the size and composition of their networks. The results indicated no overall differences between the two groups on these dimensions, however children high in competence were found to have slightly more kin in their networks than less adequately functioning preadolescents.;Lastly, it was hypothesized that parent's psychiatric status would be most strongly related to competence, intactness of the home would be second, and personal social network characteristics would be least related to competence. The results indicated that parent's psychiatric status was the factor most highly related to competence, personal social network characteristics were second. Intactness of the home was not found to be related to competence.
- Theses and Dissertations