Presentation on theme: "The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Adolescent Social Expectations. Emily L. Loeb, Elenda T. Hessel, Megan M. Schad, & Joseph P. Allen University of Virginia."— Presentation transcript:
The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Adolescent Social Expectations. Emily L. Loeb, Elenda T. Hessel, Megan M. Schad, & Joseph P. Allen University of Virginia. We would like to thank the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development for funding awarded to Joseph P. Allen, Principal Investigator, (9 R01 HD A11) for funding to conduct this study as well as for the write-up of this study. Introduction Rationale Previous work has shown that holding negative social expectations may create a self-fulfilling prophecy that alters interactions and relationships (Burgess et al., 2006; Dodge et al., 2003). The current study examines how adolescents’ early negative expectations of their peers predict changes in their behavior by late adolescence, which, in turn, are linked to poorer adult social functioning. We propose that adolescents with early negative expectations will adopt a “laying low” strategy in social relationships that may lead to poor outcomes (Crick & Dodge, 1994; Salmivalli et al., 2005). Hypotheses. It was hypothesized that early adolescents with negative social expectations would, by late adolescence: (a) develop a more submissive style of interacting with peers (b) be considered less romantically appealing by close peers and, (c) become more sensitive to rejection across a variety of situations By adulthood: (d) report poorer social relationships (e) submissiveness, lower romantic appeal, and rejection sensitivity in late adolescence would each uniquely contribute to poorer adult social functioning. (f) the intermediate processes were part of a “ laying-low, ” risk-averse way of behaving socially that might mediate the link between adolescent social expectations and adult social functioning. Method Conclusions Results Participants Multi-method longitudinal data were obtained from 184 adolescents along with their best friends. 58% Caucasian, 29% African American, and 12% Mixed or Other ethnicity. Median household income was within the $40,000 to $59,000 range.. Target adolescent mean age was years at Time 1 Time 2 participant age was Time 3 participant age was Procedures. Time 1 (Age 13) Target teen and their best friend filled out questionnaires about themselves and each other. Target teen and their best friend engaged in a 8 minute interaction, during which the dyads were asked to discuss a hypothetical dilemma requiring them to come to a consensus on decisions they disagreed on. The target teen’s behaviors displaying dominance of the discussion were observed.. Time 2 (Age 18-20) Target teen and their best friend engaged in an 8 minute interaction task similar to the one completed at age 13. Target teen and their best friend filled out questionnaires about themselves and each other. Time 3 (Age 24-25) Target participants filled out questionnaires about themselves. Measures Social Expectations Adolescents ’ self-reported social expectations were assessed at age 13 using the Children ’ s Expectations of Social Behavior Questionnaire (CESBQ; Rudolph, Hammen & Burge, 1995). The measure consists of 15 hypothetical vignettes in which teens are interacting with peers (e.g., “ You ’ re working on a group project with some other kids at school and you make a suggestion for something that you could all do. What do you think they might say? ” ). Teens were asked to choose from an accepting response, an indifferent response, or a hostile response. The current study had good internal consistency (Cronbach ’ s α = 0.75).. Submissiveness Each adolescent-friend dyad participated in an 8-minute videotaped task in which they must come to a consensus on a hypothetical dilemma. The Autonomy-Relatedness Coding System for Peer Interactions was used (Allen et al. 2001). The coding system employed (J. P. Allen et al. 2000, unpublished manuscript, 1994) yields ratings for the adolescent’s overall behavior in the interaction. The inverse of the Teen Dominance code was used as a measure of submissiveness with peers. Dominance was reliably coded as the degree to which the teen or his/her friend was “ in charge ” of the interaction. Romantic Appeal. Peer reports of the adolescents ’ romantic appeal at ages were assessed using a modified version of the Adolescent Self-Perception Profile (Harter, 1985). The 4-item romantic appeal subscale was used, to capture the extent to which close friends consider teens to be romantically attractive and successful. Throughout the study, internal consistency for this scale ranged from Cronbach ’ s α = 0.61 (age 13) to.80 (age 20). Rejection Sensitivity. Late adolescents ’ level of self-reported rejection sensitivity was assessed at ages using the Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire (RSQ: Downey and Feldman 1996). The measure consists of 18 hypothetical situations in which rejection by a significant other is possible (e.g. “ You ask a friend to do you a big favor ” ). Internal consistency for total rejection sensitivity across the three years was very high (Cronbach ’ s α = 0.88 to.92). Adult Social Functioning. Adults ’ self-perceptions of the quality of their intimate relationships and sociability were assessed using the Adult Self-Perception Profile (Messer & Harter, 1986). The 4-item intimate relationships and 4-item sociability subscales were combined and averaged across ages 24 and 25 to capture broad self-reported social functioning in adulthood. Internal consistency for these two subscales ranged from Cronbach ’ s α = 0.78 to.84. Adolescents who act on negative expectations over time--by retreating or laying low in social situations—may have poorer social relationships by adulthood, thus confirming their initial low expectations of others. These findings are consistent with a social-cognitive perspective on behavior, such that teens who expect hostility and/or rejection may alter their behavior based on these expectations, which may in turn elicit certain behaviors from others. Future Directions More research examining specific behavioral outcomes of negative expectations could help untangle the processes that allow these patterns to develop and maintain themselves over time. Research into patterns of victimization and abuse could examine the role that social expectations may play in developing and maintaining negative social cycles. Utilizing observational data, friends’ reports and self report, it was found that adolescents with more negative expectations became increasingly submissive with their best friends, became less romantically appealing according to friends’ reports, and reported higher levels of rejection sensitivity by late adolescence. These outcomes, in turn, were all linked to poorer self-reported social functioning in adulthood, which was also directly linked to early negative expectations. Finally, evidence was found that these behavioral outcomes were mediating the link between early negative expectations and adult social functioning, such that adolescents with early negative social expectations may develop behaviors that fulfill their expectations in social relationships through early adulthood.