Peer Acceptance and Motivation as Mediators of the Relationships between Students' Social Skills and Academics
Carlson, Shawn Leslie
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Primary goals of early elementary school are to teach children academic knowledge in reading and math. During this time, children also continue to develop their social skills, which can be learned from interactions with their peers. Several studies have shown a positive relationship between children’s social skills and academic achievement; however, the mechanisms through which this relationship occurs is not well known. Two possible mechanisms are peer acceptance and academic motivation. The current study examines the relationship between social skills and academic competencies over time and tests peer acceptance and academic motivation as sequential mediators of the relationship. Participants were 190 early elementary school students. Children’s social skills were found to be a significant predictor of math and reading competencies over time. Results also indicated significant indirect effects linking socials skills to academic competence through the mediators of peer acceptance and academic motivation in models for both math and reading.