Personality traits affecting popularity of elementary school children

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Personality traits affecting popularity of elementary school children

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A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the School of Education The

University of Southern California

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of science in Education


Eleanor Groves June


UMI Number: EP56137

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Dissertation Publishing

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i£i 'SO Gr'v'ti T h is thesis, w r it t e n u n d e r the d ir e c t io n o f the C h a ir m a n o f the c a n d id a te ’s G u id a n c e C o m m itte e a n d a p p r o v e d by a l l m e m b ers o f the C o m m itte e , has been p re s e n te d to a n d accep ted by the F a c u lt y o f the S c h o o l o f E d u c a t io n o f the U n iv e r s it y o f S o u th e rn C a l i f o r n i a in p a r t i a l f u l f i l l m e n t o f the re q u ire m e n ts f o r the degree o f M a s t e r o f Science in E d u c a tio n .

Dean Guidance Committee




THE PROBLEM AND METHODS U S E D ............... The problem

................ . . . . . .


Statement of the problem...............


Importance of the s t u d y ...............


Limitation of the investigation.......


Procedure . . .. . . .....................


Method of procedure....... ..........


The questionnaire




Results of the trial questionnaire . • . ♦


The final questionnaire



Organization of the remainder II.



ofthe study .


Determining social acceptance

7 9



• ••..•••


Effect of unlimited choice.............


Consistency of choice................. •


Social structure patterns

Factors relating to popularity . . . . . . . Physical and social factors Personality factors • • •






Personal appearance...................


Effect of socio-economic superiority • • «


Sex a factor



PAGE Halo and group opinion......... . . .


Maturation and change in values


• • . •

Other factors contributing to social status ...........


• •••«•••«


S u m m a r y ........... .................


RANDOM PUPIL RESPONSES..................


Boys* responses

. « ..................




Girls1 responses IV.

TRAITS LIKED .q. . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Priendly • • • • • ....................


Kindness......... ...................


Sportsmanship.................. • • • •


Manners •


Personal appearance



F u n .................................


Character qualities..................







S i z e ..................





QUALITIES DISLIKED.....................




Attention demanding

• • • • • • • • * • *




Bullies and fights....................


Disturbs others


PAGE Gossips and ridicules ..................





Personality traits children l i k e .......


Qualities disliked



Sex a f a c t o r .........................


Effect of maturation



Ability to analyze factors of personality •


Traits boys value compared with those girls value..............


Summary......... VII.


CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ........... Conclusions Recommendations


80 80









PAGE Personality Traits Children Like in Their Friends, Arranged in Order of Frequency of Mention............... • .........



Personality Traits Children Dislike in Their Associates, Arranged in Order of Frequencyof Mention



Frequency of Choice of Same or Opposite Sex as Best or Least Liked Associate . • •




A Comparison of Rank Values of Personality Traits Liked by Boys at Different Age Levels . . . .




A Comparison of Rank Values of Personality Traits Disliked by Boys at Different Age Levels..............................



A Comparison of Rank Values of Personality Traits Liked by Girls at Different Age Levels




A Comparison of Rank Values of Personality Traits Disliked by Girls at Different Age Levels . . .



Personality Traits Boys Like in Their Friends Compared with Those Girls Like ♦ •



Personality Traits Boys Dislike in Their



TABLE Friends Compared with Those Girls Dislike •




THE PROBLEM AND METHODS USED During the last quarter century there has been much research, to determine why some people make friends easily, adjust to social environment readily, and con­ sistently succeed in group relations, while others are seldom chosen, have few friends, and are unsuccessful in social situations. Much of this investigation has been directed to­ ward children*s social adjustments.

With the exception

of the sociometric studies begun by Moreno,^" much of this work has been from the point of view of adult values used as measures of children*s social effectiveness. It seems quite possible that if children were en­ couraged to express their own qualifications for friends a more accurate picture might be obtained. I.


Statement of the problem.

The purpose of this

study was to attempt to determine personality traits

D.C.s 1931)-.

1 J. L. Moreno, Who Shall Survive? Washington, Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Company,

which affect children^ popularity with their classmates. The study will attempt to answer the following questionsr 1.

What are the personality traits which make a

child popular with his classmates? 2. Do these traits change from grade to grade in the elementary and junior high school? 3*

At about what age is a child able to analyze

and express the reasons for his likes and dislikes con­ cerning personality traits in others? Is there an appreciable difference in traits that boys value as compared with those that girls value? Importance of the study.

Psychologists, educat­

ors, group leaders, and others who are interested in the development of children have become increasingly aware of the importance of the social acceptance of the child by his group.

Educators, in particular, are attempting

to develop a program which will help children to become better adjusted to their social environment. Favorable and adverse personality traits are evi­ dent when the child first enters a group.

Since it has

been found that these traits can be modified to some extent, it is the responsibility of the school, and other agencies interested in child welfare, to develop desirable traits and to modify or change undesirable ones.

3 Both training and research, in the past, have been based on adult standards and values*

It is felt that

what adults consider of value in social relations may not always coincide with the preferences of the children. The children have their mores and their system of values. It might be quite possible for a child to comply with adult values, yet fail in his own group.

It is the pur­

pose of this study to determine some of those qualities which have value to the children themselves. Limitation of the investigation.

The investiga­

tion will be limited to the childrens own expressed preferences for those personality traits which they like or dislike in their classmates. No effort will be made to determine nor predict any other factors of social acceptability, such as pro­ pinquity, age, sex, or any contributive factors other than those expressed by the children themselves. While the implications of the findings should be of value to those who are attempting to develop a program of personality training, it is not the purpose of this study to set up such a program.



Method of procedure.

The data for this investi­

gation were collected through a questionnaire to children of the fourth through the eighth grades in four separate school districts.

School A is in a district where the

families are well favored economically, the children of white American stock, and the general intelligence above average.

School B is in a district of poor homes, with

the population a mixture of Anglo-Americans, Mexicans and Italians, and with an Intelligence rating of average or below.

Both of these schools are within the urban

area of Los Angeles, California. in the Los Angeles County area. ural community.

Schools C and D are One Is in an agricult­

The other is in a district near Los

Angeles in what was until recently an orange and truck garden community, but Is now in the throes of subdivision and rapid expansion.

While a small per cent of the child­

ren have known each other most of their lives, there has been a great increase in school enrollment during recent years, so that many of the children will have been in their groups only a few months. The questionnaire.

Since the investigation was

based on the children's own statements, the first problem

5 In forming the questionnaire was to determine whether children of the elementary grades could analyze and state their likes and dislikes. In order to determine this a sample questionnaire was tried with a sixth grade class.

The investigator

said: We are studying ways to help boys and girls become more popular. In order to do this we need to know what boys and girls like in their friends. It has been said that children really don*t know why they like or dislike others. We believe that sixth-graders do know. Will you help us by thinking of those things you like and those you dislike in your classmates? Paper was passed, and these directions were given: Do not write the name of the person you are thinking about, and you need not write your own name. Now, will you first think of your best friend in this class. Under the word Likes on your paper will you write the things you like about this friend. Next, will you think of the one in this room whom you like the least, and write the things you do not like about that per­ son under the word Dislikes? You need not do this unless you wish to. The children were then allowed fifteen minutes to work. With the exception of two children, the entire group participated with considerable interest. Results of the trial questionnaire.

Of the group

of thirty-one children, twenty-nine participated.


teen children answered both parts, ten did not get to the


Only six children had finished at the end

of fifteen minutes* There was a total of fifty-three separate items listed as qualities liked in friends, and forty-nine listed as qualities disliked. from one to nineteen times.

Each item was mentioned When the papers were con­

sidered separately it was found that each child had made from one to six responses to the "Likes."

In cases where

the children had had time to finish, there was a range * of from one to four listings for "Dislikes." If this one group could be taken as representative, then it would seem that sixth grade children are quite able both to determine and to express their likes and dislikes. Of the two who did not participate, one was a twelve year old boy who had a grade expectancy of 3.1+., and who, consequently, found written expression very dif­ ficult. The other, the oldest member of the group, and one of the most popular children in the class, offered his explanation for not participating.

He said, "All the

kids would be pestering me to know who I wrote about, and I didnft want to have to tell,"

This awareness of

the social situation may be oner of the reasons for his

popularity. The final gue stlonnaire♦

The next problem was

to determine the exact information needed, and to elim­ inate as much of the preliminary directions as possible and still have an effective questionnaire*

It was immed­

iately apparent that the questionnaire must include the grade, the age, and the sex of the writer, and that prob­ ably it would be wise to know the sex of the one being described*

Since the trial group found the time allow­

ance inadequate, it seemed advisable to provide a halfhour period for completion of the questionnaire* A questionnaire was then devised and tried out with a second group of sixth-graders from another school, and also with a fourth grade in the same school.


from these groups indicated the questionnaire would be a satisfactory tool for securing data* The questionnaire, in its final form, together with a direction sheet for the examiner, was mimeographed and distributed to the selected schools*

Copies of these

appear in the Appendix* III.


Chapter II will contain a review of the literature. In Chapter III, data secured from the questionnaire will

b© presented*

A summary of the findings and conclusions

will be included in Chapter IV*

The bibliography and

appendix will conclude this study*



REVIEW OP THE LITERATURE If education Is to help the individual meet his personality problems, some means must be devised to de­ termine those problems#

Before constructive help can

be given it is necessary to know the individual's status within the group, and those qualities which affect his acceptance or rejection by his associates# I.


The problem of determining the status, or degree of social acceptance, of the individual has been approached in many ways*

Perhaps the most effective has been the

Sociometric Test, as developed by Moreno.^

In this test

each individual is allowed to choose from among his asso­ ciates one to three individuals with whom he would like to work, have for a companion, or have in his group.


results are charted, usually on the basis of first choice, but sometimes with second choices indicated by different colored lines or arrows#

Such a chart, or sociogram,

indicates graphically the social relationships or social

^ J. L* Moreno, Who Shall Survive? Washington, D#C#J Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Company, 193^» pp. 11-17*


structure patterns within the group* Social structure patterns*

Moreno found, and

later studies have verified his findings, that in each group there are those individuals, the isolates, who are chosen by no one, and the stars, or centers of attraction, who are chosen by many*

Moreno’s study revealed that the

number of isolates fluctuated between 15 per cent and 35 per cent in the various grades*

The highest number

was in the kindergarten, with a gradual decrease up to the fifth grade; then an increase from the fifth to the eighth grade*

Mutual pairs were lowest in the kinder­

garten, increasing to the fifth grade, then decreasing to the eighth. The more complicated structures, such as triangles and chains, do not occur in the first grade, but do appear with growing frequency up to the seventh and eighth grades. There, according to Moreno’s findings, more than half of the pupils participate* 2 Effect of unlimited choice* Helen Hall Jennings,

2 Ibid., p. 25. 3 Helen Hall Jennings, Leadership and Isolation. New York: Longmans, Green and company, 1943, pp* l9ff•



an associate of Moreno, continued the study in an effort to determine factors relating to the social structure* In an investigation of the effect of unlimited choice, Miss Jennings found that the number of choices allowed each individual did not change the structural pattern. She found that those individuals who had been stars under limited choice, continued to occupy such favored position under larger choice allowance, and the "number of indivi­ duals unchosen under the first condition is not substant­ ially reduced under the second condition.”^ She found also that the individual who chose a greater number of individuals was not necessarily a well chosen individual, nor did the one whom many chose neces­ sarily express preference for many*

Nor did she find any

correlation "between the extent to which the subject re­ jects others and the extent to which he himself is re­ jected by others*tt^ Consistency of choice *


using the

social structure technique in a study of peer culture,

k Jennings, o£. cit., p. 19. 5 Ibid., p. 55.


Prances Ann Ohlheiser, "Characteristics of Junior High School Pupils Who Are Most Frequently or Least Fre­ quently Chosen by Their Peers," Unpublished Master’s The­ sis, University of Southern California, 19144* pp* 119-20.


found that those children most frequently chosen were con­ sistent in choosing the same friends in each choosing sit­ uation, and were themselves chosen from a wide range of pupils, while the least frequently chosen children sensed their insecurity and were inconsistent in their choices*



Hot only is it important to know the position of the individual in the social structure, but it is necessary to know what causes him to be accorded such position.


studies have been made to determine the factors which made for successful social living, among them the Young and 7 Cooper study in which the most popular and least popular groups were compared to determine the factors which differ­ entiated them.

The Socioraetric Test was given to four hund­

red eighteen school children, and from this the one-eighth most popular and the one-eighth least popular were listed. These children were then compared in thirty-three different ways, in an effort to determine those particular factors which seemed pertinent to popularity. 7

' Lyle P. Young, Commander U.S.N.R., and Dan H. Cooper, "Some Factors Associated with Popularity,” Journal of Educational Psychology, XXXV, Ho, 9# December, l9W» pp. 513-25.

13 Physical and social factors.

They found that

chronological age, broken home, socio-economic status, and number of siblings were not significantly related to popularity, nor was length of association.

Physical char­

acteristics, such as height and weight, showed no signifi­ cant relationship to popularity. Personality factors.

Personality characteristics, o as measured by the California Test of Personality, showed the first positive correlation.

Differences be­

tween the popular and least popular groups were marked in the four factors:

(1) School Relations, (.2) Sense of

Personal Worth, (3) Reeling of Belonging, and (ij.) Social Standards.

This led the authors to raise the following

questions: Is loss of self-confidence the result of lack of popularity, or the cause of it? Is lack of self^confidence over a considerable period of time crippling? Since isolated children feel that they do notp belong, is it recognition of lack of popularity? They suggest that, f,Low social standards may either be violated contortions of the individual trying o Louis P. Thorpe, Willis W. Clark, and Ernest W. Tiegs, California Test of Personality— Elementary, Los Angeles, California: California Test Bureau. o Young, ©£. cit., p. 525*

to establish himself, or the outward expression of per­ sistent inner resentment# Personal appearance#

The second real difference

between the popular and unpopular was found in personal appearance, voice and clothes, where a great balance was found in favor of the popular group*

When checked by

the teachers, there was a critical ratio of 9*08 in favor of the popular group, while the school nurse1s rating gave a ratio of 11#72. These results were so striking that a further study was conducted, using three adult and three child judges from a different school.

The children were judged

by the method of paired comparison on facial appearance, voice, and clothing.

The results indicated that:


appearance is somewhat more certainly associated with popularity than was voice or clothing. That personal appearance is an important determinant in popularity was also the conclusion of Hardy, 12 who made a study of two hundred fifteen white boys and

Ibid., p. 525. 11 Ibid., pp. 530-31. 12

Martha Crumpton Hardy, "Social Recognition at the Elementary School Age,” Journal of Social Psychology, VIII (October, 1937), pp. 36g-d6#

15 on© hundred ninety-four white girls over a four-year period.

These children had been adjudged by their class­

mates as best liked, or least liked.

The popular child­

ren were better liked than 80 per cent of their associates, while the unpopular were less well liked than 80 per cent of their associates. popular children,

Hardy found that of the group of . • two-thirds . . . were described

as having attractive appearance while less than one-fifth 13 of the unpopular were so described.*1 Effect of socio-economic superiority.

She found,

too, that size was not a significant factor, but that the socially successful group had superior home conditions, while the unpopular group had inferior home conditions when each was compared to the standards of the school population.

As Hardy sums it up t

Children whom other children esteem highly, as a class are superior to the average individual in the group . . . in every aspect of development examined . . . and the children whom others neglect or avoid tend to rank below the average of their group in many traits and conditions.

The conclusion seems warranted from the find­ ings of this investigation that social recogni­ tion during the elementary school years is closely related to the individual’s ability to distinguish himself from his associates.^

13 Ibid., p. 378

Sex a factore

That sex is a prime determinant

in friendship choices is amply demonstrated by evidences which Moreno v found in his study of social structure. He found that attraction between the sexes is highest in the kindergarten and first grades, decreasing through the fourth grade, and gradually increasing to the eighth grade.

These findings are further substantiated by the

studies of Bedoian,

and many others.

This is the one

factor on which there has been consistent agreement throughout the many studies made of children’s choices of friends or companions.

Through the fourth, fifth

and sixth grades, and to a somewhat lesser extent in the seventh and eighth grades, boys consistently choose boys, and girls consistently choose girls. Halo and group opinion.

Caroline M. Tryon, 17

who carried on an eight-year study in Oakland, California,

^ *t PP* l£ Moreno, op. cit., p. 26. , Vagharsh Hagop Bedoian, ,fA Study of Sociometric Patterns in the Elementary School,” (unpublished Master’s Thesis, The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, I9I4.6 ) pp. 23-26. 17 Caroline McCann Tryon, "Evaluation of Adoles­ cent Personality by Adolescents,” Monograph, Society for Research in Child Development, Vol. IV, No. I4., 1939*

17 in an effort to determine those qualities of personality which children v&lue in each other, believes that there is a great deal of halo in the opinion of a child who attempts to rate his associates on personality qualities. That is, a child extreme in one or two qualities having marked significance for thqt age and sex, is probably credited with other extreme qualities which he does not possess to such a degree. Not only does a child profit disproportionately from one or two highly desirable traits, but he also profits from the favorable opinion of his peers.


acceptance of others* evaluation of the individual has T:D been noted in the study of Young, who finds that if a group likes a certain person, that person is likely to be judged highly intelligent, handsome, and possessed of other of the desirable qualities. lar can do no wrong.

"A person who is popu­

His popularity shields him from

criticism. Maturation and change in values.

Thompson 20

studied the fluctuations of friendships by giving a 18

Young, op. cit., p. ?15»

19 Ibid., p. 515. 20

George W. Thompson, ”A Study of the Friendship

18 Sociometric Test, repeating it two weeks later and com­ paring the results#

He round that there was a trend

toward greater stability with increased chronological age.

"The data indicates," he says, "that one charac­

teristic of a mature person is the ability to maintain relatively more stable friendships than the immature or 21 childish person." The Tryon


studies, previously mentioned, were

directed primarily to the attempt to determine factors of personality which children value in each other, any changes in values with maturity, and the relative import­ ance of the traits to the children.

She found that while

there was relatively little change in the boys’ values between the ages of twelve and fifteen, there were some revolutionary changes in girls’ values.

Boys at both

the twelve and fifteen year level have great interest in organized games, admire fearlessness or daring, and the ability to organize activities.

Girls at the twelve

year level tend to admire demure, sedate, non-aggressive

Fluctuations of Urban Boys and Girls," Pedagogical Sem­ inary and Journal of Genetic Psychology, Vol. 70 (March I9 k 1 ) pp. 53-50. Ibid., p. 62. 22 Tryon, o£. cit.

19 qualities, while the fifteen year olds have become more interested in activities and hold good sportsmanship as highly acceptable.

The traits of "friendly" and "enthus­

iastic” rated as highly significant for both boys and girls on each age level, while "unkempt1* was considered with marked disapproval for both boys and girls at every level except twelve year old boys, who granted it some approval• Hsia,^ in "A Study of the Sociability of Elem­ entary School Children," attempted to measure sociabil­ ity or social intelligence of school children.

The child­

ren of grades five through eight were asked to state freely what they thought made a person a good mixer.


responses were grouped under five headings: (1) Social traits: play with everybody.

such as friendly, helpful,

(2) Emotional traits: pleasant.

cheerful, good-humor,

(3) loyal.

honest, unselfish,

Character traits:

(I*.) Personality traits: athletic. (5) Intellectual traits: high marks.

neat, good appearance, wise, bright, get

^ Jui-Ching Hsia, f,A Study of the Sociability of Elementary School Children,11 Teachers College, Colum­ bia University Contributions to Education, No. 322. New

Of the five groups, "social" and "emotional" traits were far ahead in number of times mentioned, and "social" traits were mentioned more than four times as often as "intellectual," "character," or "personal" traits* "Good manners" and "kind" received the largest number of votes.

"Good disposition" was mentioned by

both boys and girls.

Mo physical traits, except "good

looking" and "athletic" were mentioned by the children* The results of this study indicated that, in general, boys and girls do not differ appreciably in their opin­ ion with regard to what makes a person a good mixer. This study also emphasized that sex is a factor in popularity in that throughout the four grades, where the children were given the opportunity to indicate whom, from their group, they would invite to a party, the boys wished to invite only boys and the girls would invite only girls. Prom this study it was concluded that: Children’s opinion of a good mixer emphasized the social and emotional qualities. Physical traits are scarcely mentioned. Boys and girls do not differ in their opinion of a "good mixer." Boys and girls of this age fprm their own circles and stick to their own sex.2^ York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers Coliete, Colum­ bia University, 1932, pp. I4.2-J4.7.


Other factors contributing to social status* A child’s social status is determined by his sex, the birth order in the family, the family’s position in the social structure, his nationality or race, according to the 2? studies of Warner, Havighurst and Loeb.



To summarize* the social structure of the group falls Into definite patterns, or sociograms, with some individuals the stars or centers of clusters, indicating that they are assured the social approval of their fel­ low pupils; while others are Isolates who have little or no approval within their group.

These patterns are con­

sistent within the group even when the individuals are not limited to number of choices; nor do they change appreciably over a period of time, as indicated by re­ petition of the test at a later date. Many studies have been made in an attempt to determine just what factors affect the acceptance or rejection of the individual within his group.

Ibid., 2Z

The studies

p. 1+7*

^ W. Lloyd Warner, Robert J. Havighurst, and Martin B. Loeb, Who Shall Be Educated? Hew York; Harper Brothers, 19l|J+, p. 11+9•

seem to indicate that chronological age, physical size, broken home, and the number of siblings are not signifi­ cantly related to popularity. i&i the other hand, personality characteristics, the social and emotional qualities such as friendliness, kindness, and cheerfulness, and so forth, are positive factors in determining the popularity of the individual. Personal appearance, sex, group opinion or halo, are all important factors in determining popularity. Perhaps the most significant finding, which is attested to by a number of studies, is that the superior child, the child in the upper quartile in every aspect of development examined, has the best chance of feeing the popular child. This would indicate that any effort to increase the popularity of the individual would necessitate a program tending to improve the status of the individual in every field of endeavor.

Perhaps, in a program of

rehabilitation or personality development, special em­ phasis should be placed on personal appearance, friend­ liness, and kindness, qualities which seem to have great value to children, and which tend to lend themselves to improvement more rapidly than might the intelligence or socio-economic conditions.


RANDOM PUPIL RESPONSES What qualities do children like in their friends, and what are the qualities which they object to in their less favored associates?

Are children able to analyze

their feelings, to determine and express such qualities, and, if so, at what age are they able to discern and express their preferences?

Do boys and girls differ in

the personality qualities they like and dislike in their associates?

These were the questions which this study

set about to answer. After reading the statements of the children there can be little doubt that children do know what they like and dislike about their friends, and can ex­ press themselves eloquently. The qualities disliked were probably more natur­ ally expressed than the qualities liked.

The impact of

adults was perhaps reflected in the expression of likes. It is important to realize that children at all age levels studied valued the quality of friendliness above all, giving it a total rating of more than two hundred points above any other quality.

Good sportsman­

ship, kindness, happiness, a clean and tidy appearance,

24 obedience, and good scholarship were all regarded very highly; by all age groups. Two of the qualities frequently mentioned, nice and good sport, are somewhat ambiguous terms which might mean any number of separate qualities.

Nice has been

included in the category of friendly, since other qual­ ities listed in the same answer would indicate that this was the child’s meaning.

Also included in the category

friendly are such terms as good personality, sweet, good, popular, and likes everyone. The term good sport seems to connote much more than the ability to accept success modestly and defeat with equanimity.

Fairness is implied in good sports­

manship, as is cooperation, sharing, even temper, and something of loyalty.

It often implies some ability at

sports, apparently, since it so often appears in a state­ ment which emphasizes athletic skills. In order to validate the assertion that children can and do analyze and express their awareness of the qualities they like and dislike in their companions, one hundred forty-four of their replies are reproduced. They are presented in two groups, the first selected at random--the twenty-fifth paper in each age group— is pre­ sented in this chapter.

These are presented in ehrono-

25 logical order, the eight and nine year olds first.


responses, likes and dislikes, are given in the child1s own phrasing.

The statements of the boys and girls are

separated. The second group has been selected to emphasize and confirm those factors of personality which the child­ ren seem to feel are of real significance.



Qualities liked

Qualities disliked

1. I like him because He thinks he is a big guy, he doesnft tease me. He He shoves me around. He does­ isn’t mean to me. n ’t like me. 2. He likes to play games in the wash /dry river bedJT and he likes radio. He is a nice per son. He is friendly. He helps me do my work. He does not throw stones. He is healthy.

Because he plays in the bushes and he is not sup­ posed to do that. He steals things. He has B.O. too. He pays you to let him be head of a dirty gang. He climbs in windows. He al­ ways burps in school.

3. I like this boy because he is nice and he don’t play rough. He is friends and he is a every sport boy.

I do not like this boy because he picks on me and he like to hit everybody he can beat up.

He doesn’t cheat in a ball game. He is courteous and good look­ ing.

He does not finish his work. He isn’t courteous. And he picks Rights with me.

26 I am thinking about a 5. I am thinking agirl because she is tekie, bout a boy because he is and she interrupts a lot, a Stevens Afica, and he and I don’t like because is a sawed-off runt and she think she hot but she he can play very good and cold and she stuck-up. * he is popular* 6* I like him be­ cause he is a good sport and friendly and kind. He likes to play the same game that I like to play, and he is clean.

She is stuck-up. She talks all the time. She is a bad sport. She gets mad easily/

7. I like this boy because he is very like­ able, and he is very friendly* I like him very well because he is very clean and neat. He comes to school very neat and he goes home neat* This boy is a very good sport and never disagrees. This person laughs a lot and is never glum. He al­ ways gets along well and is never fighting.

I am thinking about a boy. I dislike the way this person thinks about others. I don’t like this person because he steals and is dishonest and not desirable. I don’t like this person because he always attracts others attention.

8. I like him be­ cause he is nice. He is friendly. He is good at playing games. He is good at playing at home. He is clean. He never gets mad. He does not eat in front of others.

She is selfish. She talks in the room. She is not my friend. She talk to people when she is sup­ posed to be doing her work.

9* I like this per­ son because she is nice, knows her work and is smart. She has very nice manners, too. She is very beautiful and wears clean clothes.

I do not like this boy because he hasn’t any man­ ners. He doesn’t know his work very well. He is very sloppy and wears dirty clothes all the time. He thinks he’s touch and he

* This is the only instance in more than a thousand

27 isn’t. He doesn’t comb his hair or wash. He is very nasty and hangs around with girls all the time. 10* I especially like him because he is cour­ teous. He listens to what you have to say. He helps other people who can’t play games as well as he can.

I dislike this boy be­ cause he steals. He uses bad language. He has a bad temper.

11. I like his sportsmanship. He does not get mad too easily and he isn’t hard to get along with. He will take whatever he deserves, whether it is good or bad. He is polite and generous and does not al­ ways want his own way.

He is a bad sport. He wants all his own way and is hard to get along with. If he deserves something bad or that he doesn’t like he get mad about it, but he will take something that is good or he likes and not get mad. He gets mad at almost nothing and he is very contrary.

This person is not 12. This person is friendly in all ways a likeable. He does gripe person can be friendly. about everything or any­ He is not selfish. He thing. He is very egotis­ has many friends. He tical. He pops off in shares and shares alike. class and tries to show He does not gripe about off and tries to be the things, or try to be teacher’s best pupil and the best person in the gets away with almost every­ class or show off. He thing he tries to. When also does not pop off in somebody gets in trouble with him and admits he is the class. wrong this boy about which I am talking about gets mad and pouts, and he has too much temper and says he doesn’t have a temper, and that everybody else does. responses in which a child used a Junior Jive or patter in describing his associates.

28 13. The person is nice, friendly, and hon­ est, He is quiet in the room,

He is always making noise in the room. Talk­ ing out of turn and always getting bad marks.

lit-* He is a very nice person. He has a nice sense of humor. He has good manners* He is polite to his parents* He does not drink or smoke•

She swears. She has no manners. She is not nice. She is always mad. She smokes. She cusses. She is not kind to her parents.

15* I like this boy best because we have fun outside of school, as well as in school. We go to shows together, and we live fairly close to­ gether.

I dislike this boy be­ cause he is a big nuisance in class and he is always causing trouble. He thinks he is very hot and tries to be rowdy, but cannot for he is too stupid. He tries to be an allstar.

16. The reason I like this boy is that he is a good sport, has a nice personality, and /Ts/ fun to be with.

The reason I dislike this boy is because he is hard to get along with and doesn't seem to want any friends. And also when he asks for advice and you give it to him he makes remarks about it and does­ n't take the advice.

17* She is very neat and has a strict home which teaches her to be­ have herself. She does­ n't get mad at every lit­ tle thing that happens to her. Her sportsman­ ship is good and ^she/^ never crabs at anyone.

His sportsmanship is bad and he crabs about everything. He wants to be tough but he won't let anyone teach it to him. He thinks he knows every­ thing.

18. This girl is so polite and clean and nice. I like her because she does not tattle and she is not mean. She is a very good sixth grader.

Did you ever hear of a "bluff?" Of1course you did. Well there is one in this room wants to pick fights all the time.


Qualities disliked

1* I like this girl because she is nice to me. And she is kind to other people, too. She is good in her school work* She does not talk when she is not supposed to.

I do not like this boy because he is mean and rough. He talks when he is not supposed to. He does not get anything done in school.

2. I like this girl because she /Ts/ funny and always happy, and hardly ever gets mad. She is not like me.

She acts too smart and tries to boss every­ body.

3. I like a girl that is clean and does not talk behind other people, who is nice and clean, who is polite, hone st, and fair•

I am thinking about a girl who is selfish, who cheats, not fair, swears, sassy, and who brags and bosses people around.

if. The things I like about this boy is that he Is very neat, clean, and very nice. He likes to do what other people like to do. He is a very good sport. He is a very handsome boy.

I don't like this boy because he is a bad sport. He always cries when he can't have his own way.

5. I like this girl the best because: friend ly, courteous, honest. She is not a poor cit­ izen.

I like this boy the least because: he acts stupid and saucys the teacher sometimes.

6. She play with me and she is nice. She buy me ice cream

I do not like her because sometime she said a bad word and I do not



most every day. She like me and I like her for my Best Friend. She writes me letter every night and when we go to school she give me the letter and we have lots of fun to­ gether. She look like my sister because we play together. And she is pretty for me.

like it.

7. I like this person because she is dependable, nice, and she never fights or argue s•

I donft like this person because he is al­ ways getting into trouble and he lies.

8. He is courte­ ous and kind. I like him because he is that way. He is friendly and he is so curious at everything in the room, and so funny. He is nice to all the boys and girls. He is fair in his work. He never quarrels with other children. He never gets mad when he can’t have his own way. That is why I like him. 9* The things I like about this girl are she is kind and helpful, she is a very good sport and is very clean in thought and words. She hardly ever loses her temper. I think she is nice.

($o dislikes recorded).

I do not like this boy because he is too bossy. When we are play ing punch ball he comes and takes the ball and kicks it into the field and we have a hard time getting it back. He doesn’t have a very nice disposition. He steals and grabs. I don’t like him.

31 10* I like the girl because she is a good sport.

I dislike the girl because she Is not a good sport.

11. I like this girl because she dresses well, wears her hair nicely, does­ n ’t cheat in games, is clean, does not say bad words. She plays base­ ball good, she obeys, she does not mind other people’s business, is polite, doesn’t argue, is not a sissy, does not play like a tom boy.

I do not like her be-eause she is stuck up, attract* boys’ attentions, she does not wear suitable clothes, her colors don’t match, I don’t like the way she fixes her hair. She copies other people’s papers. She isn’t very friendly, she tells stor­ ies that are not true, plays like a tom boy, is always bell of the ball, does not mind her own bus­ iness, and she thinks she is too smart.

12. She doesn’t have just one special friend. She doesn’t talk about anyone. She keeps it to herself.

She is too snooty and t&inks she is smarter than she really is.

13. I am thinking about a girl because she grew up with me and we shared things together and we work together, and were in this school since we were small. We go to the show toge ther ♦

I am thinking about a boy because he makes fun of me and my brothers. He calls me names and he is always hitting me, and he makes the teacher mad.

li|.. I like her be­ cause she has a swell personality. Her actions are very cute. She is a good sport and tries to do what is best. She has a pleasing voice and is very cute. She does not ’’chase" boys. She has a boy friend but she doesn’t talk about him

This girl is always doing wrong for someone else. All she thinks of is herself, she is always flirting with boys which, to me and others, does not look nice.

32 as much as girls do. nicely and exaggerate

many other she dressesdoes not over in make-up.

1$. She is very po­ lite and treats other people very nice. Any mother would want her daughter going around with her. She is good in school work and is able to break up many fights that other kids are in.

This certain girl is not good.looking at all, (not just because I say so) but she is quite conceited. She says /that it is/ since she is cheer leader that she has become so pop­ ular. That nobody likes. If she wasn’t quite so con­ ceited, she would be a lot better off.

16 . I like this girl because she is honest and we have lots of fun to­ gether. In school she is always doing her work right. She is lots of fun to go around with and know. We do the same things together. She is always cheerful and happy. I’ve known her for two years. We don’t quar­ rel like most girls and their friends do.

I like this boy less be­ cause he doesn’t play with the other boys. He just sits around playing games with other girls.

17* The person I am thinking about is to my opinion one of the nicest girls I know. She has a sweet disposition and is always wearing a smile. She also gets very good marks in all her studies.

This boy is just a little too friendly. He acts like a big sissy all the time. I can’t even say the words that would des­ cribe him to you.

18. This girl is al­ ways truthful. She has good sportsmanship. She does not think too much of herself and is not conceited or stuckup.

This boy is not truth­ ful. He does not have very good sportsmanship. He thinks he is pretty good. He does not clean himself up or even comb his hair.

33 She thinks of the feelings of others, too, she is always clean and neat looking*

He makes remarks that hurt the feelings of other peo­ ple.

19* I like him be­ cause he does his work. He talks, but I think it is alright to talk if you don’t talk much. You can ask the person in back of you, I think. And that is what he does. He is a sport, kind, and does things the best way he knows how. But he is a boy and has boy ways, but not the same as some boys, some do things just to be mean but he is not that way. He is a swell guy.

I don’t like him be­ cause he is no sport. And when he does not get his way he goes and talks about you. I used to think he was some guy but I don’t think so now. And I know most kids that don’t. When someone tried to be good he makes fun of them. And he is the one that should be good. I guess he will learn how to some day.


TRAITS LIKED The responses presented in this section do not represent random choice, but were selected to illustrate, in the children*s own phrasing, those factors of person­ ality which they value in their associates. It is difficult to classify children’s responses into separate categories, such as friendliness, honesty, kindness, and so forth, because they tend to itemize a number of things liked or disliked rather than to expand any one quality. It is felt that the first quality mentioned, since it probably was the first to come to mind in rela­ tion to the specific person, might be the most signifi­ cant.

It was on this basis that the replies which mention

many factors were organized.

However, in some cases, re­

plies have been used to illustrate certain points, regard­ less of the order of the particular factor in the response. No effort has been made to classify responses according to age or sex.

All age groups are represented,

and, as nearly as possible, the same number of responses are presented for girls as for boys.

Since it may be of

35 interest to know the age and sex of the writer, the capital letter G for girl, or B for boy, together with the age of the writer, will follow each quoted reply. Friendly *

The following replies will serve to

illustrate what the children felt was involved in being friendly. I like a certain girl in the classroom because she is very friendly. She has a nice personality. She has many friends and is well liked. She is always interested in problems and things you have to say. Every time I see her she has a big smile on her face. B-13 He has a good personality. He makes friends easily. He doesn’t tattletale. He always helps. He is clean. He always tries. B-9 This girl always has a friendly smile. She is not exceptionally smart in her school work but is always trying to be better. She always finds time to speak and chat with another. She has high ideals for her future, not a brain storm but an idea to build her life around* It is practical with a solid future to it. She is not above average in looks but her personality is far above most people. She is sweet to everybody and never talks about people behind their backs. She is like a big sister to everyone. She has more friends than she even knows. She never thinks herself better than anyone else. She is always clean and neat and always looks cute. She talks to people even though she doesn’t especially care for the person. She may fool around a lot but she never gets silly over a boy. G-13. He is very friendly. He helps other people when they need it. He is very courteous and obedient.

36 He is not selfish. He will lend almost anything. He has a nice personality. He is no rough neck. He does not swear, B-ll I like this person because she is an agreeable person and doesn’t argue very much, and agrees with most things, and we don’t have much fights, and she isnft conceited, and doesn’t criticize people, and she is generous. And she has lots of friends. G-12 I especially like him because he is always friendly. He is courteous. He is generous. He is good-natured. B-10 Kindness. them.

Children appreciate kindness done

The child who respects another’s point of view,

who is thoughtful of his companions, helpful and consid­ erate to the individual or the group, is held in high esteem. I like him because he is always ready to help me. He does not start unnecessary fights. He is kind to everyone. He is willing to share things. He is a good sport. I can always trust him. He obeys rules and laws. He does not hurt smaller children. He does not lie. He is not a coward. He does not swear. B-9 I like a girl in this room because she is very kind and will help me in anything that is hard for me. She will not ask for anything for helping me. She is not very pretty, but she makes up for it by being nice and sweet. B-II4. She is kind. She is courteous. She is friendly. She always takes time to listen to what you have to say. she is always ready to help people. She doesn’t act smart. She gets along with other people. She is a good sport. G-ll

37 I like this girl because she is kind to her parents* She makes you feel like she wants you around. She is always honest* Gr-9 I like this boy because he is kind and unselfish. He does not get me into trouble like some boys do* He is not a tattle tale and does not get into trouble. That1s why I like this boy. B-10 Sport sman ship *

While boys seem to value good

sportsmanship and athletic ability more highly than do girls, both sexes deem them important factors in social acceptance. I like him because he is a good sport, willing to share, helpful, kind. He is energetic. He be­ longs .to desirable clubs. He is responsible. He is not a bully, and he is truthful. B-9 I like a girl in this class because she is a good scout, because she is honest, because she is clean and neat, because she is polite and fair and nice. G-9 I like him because he is a very good sport, and he’sa good swimmer. He doesnft like to fight. Everybody is his friend. He is a good school worker. He gets good grades. His work is always in. He never fools around. B-ll}. He can play baseball good. He is the captain of our baseball team and our football team. He is kind to everybody. He doesn’t try to get into trouble. He has a nice family. He is good in his studies in school. He doesnft sass the teacher. He doesn’t ever have to go to the office only when he takes someone else. He is a safety, and I like him very well for a boy friend. B-ll I like him because he is a good sport and is never selfish. He always helps me. When we play games he never runs away with the ball and he is never a bad sport. B-10


38 It is interesting to note the qualities which children use to expand their concept of poor sportsmanship.

Of the three examples which follow there are

listed the liar and cheat, the bossy, the selfish, the ill-tempered

and the discourteous.

The good sports

are accorded most of the virtues, while the poor sports are considered to have their share of mortal sins. He is a bad sport and never plays his game. When I used to go over to his house he never let me touch anything, and every time I play with him he never does what I want to do. He does not do what boys do and he always tries to boss people, and he doesnft let others play with his toys. B-ll She always tells the teacher. She is a bad sport in games. She is afraid of everything, she is very rude. It is hard to make friends with her. B-9 I do not like this girl because she is a bad sport and she lies, also cheats. She has a bad temper. She doesn't like to play the games I like. She is not thoughtful of other people's feelings. She thinks she is the smartest in our class. G-9 Manners.

The courteous child has the admiration

and liking of his associates, according to the replies of more than three hundred children.

A few of their

statements will express the children's point of view. She is courteous, she minds her own business. Anyone can't be perfect but she is about as per­ fect as anyone I know. If everyone followed her in this school it would be a very nice school. B-15>

39 I like him because he is a well brought up boy. He minds his own business. B-10 I like this girl because she has nice manners and doesn’t do things that are not very nice. She’s always happy and she likes to do the things that I like to do so we get along very well. She’s not mean or selfish like some kids are, but anyone who meets her would know that they would like her all the time and never quarrel. So that is why I like her so much. We get along fine* G-12 Lack of courtesy and acts of rudeness cause em­ barrassment and discomfort to the individual and the group, and are resented for that reason. I dislike this boy because he is not polite and not nice with anybody. He says bad words and throws water at me with a water gun, and he brings the water gun to school when the teacher says not to bring it. G-10 She’s very impolite and greedy. She has very bad manners. She is always argying. She is never kind to me. B-ll The boy I am thinking of is very ill-mannered. He goes down a row of desks that are very close together. He can’t get through very well, but he knocks people’s arms and it makes them make a mis­ take on their paper. He never does what the teacher tells him to do so the whole class has to pay for what he did. He is always trying to tell people what to do and he doesn’t know himself. G-13 The boy I am referring to is in our room. He is very impolite and talks back to the teacher. Ho never has a good word for anybody. He is dirty in his language. One good thing about him, his clothes are always clean. But he is improving in his habits more every day. G-12


Personal appearance* The very fact of being clean and tidy assures a child at least a chance of being ac­ cepted*

Physical attractiveness has some value, but is

ranked far below cleanliness, while the clothing one wears is of even less importance• I like a girl because she is always neat and clean, and she is always polite at all times* She is always fair in games. She is always honest* She never gossips at all* G-9 I am thinking about a boy who is very neat and has good manners. He has a nice personality and is a lot of fun. He is also very thoughtful, and knows how to act around people* g-i4 I like this girl because we have good times* We play together. She is nice. She keeps her clothes clean* She is a good citizen. She has good manners. She does not tell any lies* She is very very courteous. Her hair is combed nice. She has good health habits. Her shoes are clean. Her appearance is nice. She never interrupts. She has excellent manners. The reason I like this girl is because she is pretty and kind, and she is clean. She is a good sport and she likes lots of people in the class. And she is helpful and get people out of jams. B-10 The real importance of appearance is better recog­ nized by a study of Table II, where it is to be noted that among the qualities most disliked, dirty and untidy ranks among the first ten of those which repel friend­ ship.

While a clean, neat appearance does not guarantee

social acceptance, the fact that one is not clean and tidy does much to cause his rejection. The hoy I am thinking of is dirty minded, curses9 and is physically dirty. He never listens when the teacher is talking. He never minds, and is very dumb. He wears dirty clothes and his hair isnft combed or washed. He doesn’t wear shoes or socks, and is very, very mean. He has no manners at all. He sits at his desk and makes noises like a whimpering puppy, a hog, chickens, and burps. When our teacher tells him to throw aw^y his gum, he does it, but when he comes back to his seat he unwraps another one and chews it. He isn’t very nice, is he? 0-11 I dislike him because he is not neat or well mannered. He has dirty speech, and smokes. He never combs his hair nor washes. He’s just like a Hobo. He does not do his work in class. He always disrupts the room. His only friends are people just like himself. G-12 There is a girl in this room that I dislike be­ cause she is always untidy, and she is selfish and is unwilling to help. She is not honest* G-9 I don’t like this girl because she doesn’t keep her hair combed nice and she doesn’t keep her shoes very clean, she does not keep her clothes clean. She does not keep herself clean* She does not have good manners, and she does not have good health habits. She does not have nice appearance. She’s not courteous. Fun*

Children who are gay are desirable compan­

ions, according to the records of their associates.


cheerful, even tempered child who seldom precipitates an unpleasant situation, and whose gift of happiness tends to relieve tensions is an asset to any group*

He is cheerful and we hardly ever argue• He is honest and fair in games, and he never swears. He has good manners and never makes fun of anybody and he minds his own business. B-9 The girl I'm thinking of I like because of sev­ eral reasons. One is because she has a good sense of humor. Another is that she always sticks by you and helps you out when you need her, and no matter what you do or say she still likes you. She likes jokes and good fun and is always ready to carry out her part of a bargain. I think she is a good friend, don't you? 0-11 She is lots of fun, but she also knows when to settle down. She is an A student in almost every­ thing. She tries to get along with all the teachers. She dresses neatly and always is looking very fresh and clean. You can have fun with him, and he is a good sport about things. He is not selfish at lending his things or giving away a candy bar or something. He is lots of fun. He hardly ever gets mad. He is not a sissy. He takes part in sports. He doesn't run around with every girl he see. Character qualities.

That one's friend is honest,

trustworthy and truthful is usually taken for granted. But to many of these children it was so important that it was the first thing mentioned.

It may be that they

have been so thoroughly imbued with the value of these qualities that they apply them as the highest praise of their friends. She is clean, honest, helpful and trustworthy. But she is also a lot of fun In a clean manner. She is willing to do whatever task is put in front of her, and to do it well, she is not a bad influence

on other people, but more of an influence toward the better things of life. I am sure if you put your faith in her she would never let you down. G-13 She is always truthful. She never says some­ thing that is not nice about a person. She is al­ ways planning ways to have fun. She always thinks about another person, she is never selfish. She is very courteous at all times and she makes you feel like she is enjoying herself. G-llj. I am thinking about a boy because he is honest, and is always joking* He is a good guy and he is a good sport. He likes me and I like him. I let him ride my bike* B-10 I like a boy because he is honest, fair, help­ ful, and nice, and *he is neat and clean. B-9 There can be little doubt of the depth of feeling and sincerity of expression when the lack of character qualities is noted in the person least liked.

The follow­

ing statements will clearly indicate the children’s atti­ tudes on this point. He doesn’t play fair. He isn’t honest. He is selfish and criticizes, and fights dirty and starts fights. B-9 When he loses he fights with the scorekeeper. He swears when he loses. He cheats lots in games. B-10 I dislike her because she is not clean in thought, word, or deed. She hardly ever talks right, and she talks about some children’s parents. I think she wasn’t brought up in the right way. G-10

I dislike this girl because she disobeys rules, is selfish, is not a good sport, and uses bad lang­ uage* She is like a baby. She wants her way all the time in baseball games, and if she is not what she wants to be she will get mad and not play* That is why I dislike this girl* G—12 I like him least because he steals things. He stole a girl!s purse and chewed her whole package of gum that was in it# B-10 He is dirty minded and his habits and influences are bad. He is not polite to his elders, let alone anyone else* It is people like him that give a school a bad name and reputation. I don't think it is his fault though. It is an influence from others like him. G-13# Children do not like to hear swearing or obscene language, judging from the number who list this as a reason for dislike.

It is interesting to note that the

eight to twelve year olds are much more concerned than are the older children# I do not like him because he cusses and steals. He does not obey the teacher. He talks too much and he is selfish and does not play fair* G-9 He swears. He is always fighting. He is al­ ways involving the class. He is a coward. B-10 He has bad ideas. He swears. He is unfriendly. He is a bully. He is stuck-up. He is selfish. He isn't cooperative. He isn't helpful. He pushes little kids around. He doesn't have good work habits. B-10 I like him least because he uses bad language. He is not a good sport. He is not healthy. He is always picking fights.


While family was very seldom mentioned,

some few children did recognize the importance of home background.

Of all the replies received, only two made

any reference to the socio-economic standing of the in­ dividual mentioned, but other factors of family back­ ground were given as reason for liking or disliking the individual. She is friendly and doesn*t argue unless it is necessary. She knows how to get along with other people. She does not only get along with outsiders but also her family. She is honest, loyal, and true. She uses little slang, and is broad minded. She introduces her friend to her family and her family to her friends. She always wears a sunny smile. She has many good virtues and also talent. She is sociable. G-II4. I like this certain boy because he is not like most boys. When he asks his mother if he can go some place, she usually lets him. Most boys* mothers think that their child is going to drown or get hit by a car. This mother knows that her boy is old enough to take care of himself. My mother is just about the same way so us two boys always stick together. The main reason for liking him is because he is neither poorer or richer than I am. B-13 I like her because she sticks up for me and we are very good friends. She is almost my age, and we almost like the same things, and because her mother knows my mother and my mother knows her mother, and she helps me in things I canft do, and shefs a good sport. G-12 She goes around with good girls. She has a good personality, and has good looks. She has a good mother, father, brothers, and sister. She is a good person to like because she is a happy girl and fair with you. B-

The family can be a serious handicap, as the following statement indicates* Her mother is the president of the school F. T. A. She is stuck up and thinks she knows it all just because her mother is in such a high place* GThis person is not very good company for she runs around with the wrong kind of people* I also think that if she had better supervision she would be nice, but she is allowed to do things she shouldn’t be allowed to do* G-12 Size*

While size has little positive signifi­

cance in determining friendship, according to the many studies, it sometimes is of real importance to the in­ dividuals* I like her because she is the same size as I am and we think about the same things* We both like to play baseball at home because neither of us is very good at it* She is not stuck-up and is very kind and willing* We are the smallest in the class and usually picked on most of all* G-ll He has a good disposition and he does not fight* He is a very good friend. He is polite. He is un­ selfish. He agrees on just about everything I ask. He minds his own business. He is short, just like me. B-ll Renegades*

Of more than 1,000 replies, only

five indicated admiration for those qualities which are generally considered socially unacceptable.

The res­

ponses of the renegades and their admirers are included for their rarity rather than for their representativenes


One boy who evidently gloried in his own mis­ demeanors had a friend of whom he said: We play baseball and ride his bike every day, and we are late every day at all recesses and we are.bad boys. For the choice of person whom he liked least, he said,

"He is a good boy and that is why I do not

like him.11 A ten year old girlsaid of a boy: He is cute and always gets in troublewith the teacher, then he is very cute. He isn't selfish and is never mean or bad. He's a Herman. He doesn't fight. He is a good student. Two others who do have their faults have enough good qualities so that their friends say of them: He is a pretty niceguy sometimes. But he gets mad too quickly. He is a brat, but I like his attitude. He is very silly and laughs a lot. I like him because of that and he likes to play my kind of games, and he is good at playing them. He likes to trade comics and so do I, but I like his comics better.



QUALITIES DISLIKED There was some question as to the advisability of focusing children!s attention on the one liked least* but their answers have a definite value*

They show that

it is often not the lack of certain desirable qualities, but the presence of a definite undesirable quality which contributes to a child’s unpopularity* Unfriendly*

It is unfortunate that the unfriendly

child has not been taught the social techniques which would enable him to be more friendly, for he is doubtless more hurt and unhappy than the ones whom he antagonizes* I like this girl least because she’s disagree­ able, ungenerous, unpleasant, discourteous, unco­ operative, unappreciative, argues unnecessarily. She is also a bad citizen and cuts you off when you try to talk and hurts your feelings deliber­ ately. She is also conceited, but I don’t see what for. And when she makes her mind to argue, she will argue and argue until she gets the best of you. She also is not reasonable. G-10 The reason I like the girl the least is because she is very unpopular and very disagreeable, and every time you make a statement or just say a lit­ tle thing, she gets mad and starts talking and criticizes you. And it always seems she’s getting mad at somebody. And she is quite a bit conceited but I don’t know what for. She has a bad disposi­ tion and she will deliberately insult you and then she’ll say, "Why, I thought that was a compliment," and we know that she is insulting us. And she is


dishonest and selfish, and she is very dull to be around and very uncharming, and she argues at the littlest things,and she’s very critical, and she is very uncooperative. And she has her mind made up to argue until she has the best of you, but she usually doesn’t, and she isn’t a bit reasonable on some of her arguments, and she will without doubt argue about the littlest things, and sometimes when she insults you she hurts your feelings. G-12 She is snobbish and unfriendly. She has few friends, no manners. She has little respect for her family and other people. She is selfish. She has a very narrow mind and isn’t very sociable. She is noisy in the class room and always looks kind of unrespectable• She cares little for pub­ lic or personal property. Doesn’t believe in the Golden Rule. Chews gum too loud. G-li|. He was awful when he first came to this school. He wouldn’t be friends with anyone. Finally it got that I hated him. After a few months he came down to our level. How he is a pretty good guy. B-iii. I am thinking about a girl who is not a true friend, is always getting mad at me about something, is always jealous of my other friends, is not under­ standing, is stuck up and conceited, is boy-crazy, does not have a nice personality, lies to me at times. G-12 The boy I am thinking about is very disagree­ able, selfish, thinks he is big time, is a baby, talks about the interior of the body. Part of the time he is a swell guy. B-ll I do not like this boy because he always doesn’t answer me or talk to me. He has a case of anti-social attitude. He sticks up his nose every time he goes by and is always cracking jokes which are not nice about me, telling libel­ ous and slanderous things about me to turn friends against me, always swinging or taking a punch at me. B-13.

5o Attention demanding♦

The presence of specific

■undesirable qualities, rather than the lack of accept­ able qualities, cause children to be disliked by their associates. The child who demands attention, the exhibition­ ist, the one who "acts smart11 or is tfstuck-up,"— and these two qualities are often mentioned together— is doomed to social disapproval. This boy is always making faces and looks around to see ifanybody is looking at him* He is the type of person who wouldn't do anything for you unless you did something for him. He is very sassy. This is the real reason why I don't like him. B-lii I am thinking about a girl I do not like be­ cause she thinks she is cute. She thinks she is smart. She does not agree with me and I do not like her, and when I get a girl friend she tries to turn her against me. G-12 The boy I'm writing about thinks that he is a real hot shock kid. He walks with his hands spread way out, and walks with his head in the air. And he thinks he's real hot with his bike. B-10 I especially dislike her because she showsoff. She causes commotion, she is lazy. She is a cheat. She makes a fool of herself in front of people who are important. She thinks she is funny, she tells off people, she lies a little bit to make people laugh. She makes games stop to be silly. B-ll Disturbs others.

Children have little approval

for the individual who disturbs them at their work or

51 play*

The class cut-up who feels that he has the admir

ation of his associates, doubtless has their attention, but he mistakes their attention for approval. He is always talking out of turn and bothering the rest of the class, and every time the teacher goes out of the room he is always making a lot of noise and running around the room. And he does things behind the teacher’s back and there is no one in the room who likes him very well. G-13 She talks to herself. She tries to tell me what to do and she bothers me almost all the time. She talks to me almost all the time and doesn’t let me work, and she tries to do everything I do. G-12 I do not like him because in class he is always talking. Sometimes he is in fights. He swears sometimes. He is not a good sport. B-ll This boy is always disturbing the class and causing trouble. This usually makes the whole class pay for being a trouble maker. I also think this boy is trying very hard to show-off. G-12 Bullies and fights.

The bully is scorned by all

age groups, but the younger children are especially bit­ ter toward the child who pushes others around, who hits and abuses them, and who uses his physical ability to cause fear and pain to his associates. Older children resent the person who starts fights and who "picks on the little guys," and who brings trouble and dissension into the group.


less personal, their reactions to the bully are no less


intense than that of the younger children. He is very boastful* He pushes people around* He is always a bully. He thinks he’s big time. He is always trying tomake people afraid of him. He is a bad sport in games. He is always doing things behind the teacher*s back. B-9 The boy I like the least is a coward. When he Jights he has to have a mob of boys to help him. He beat me up. He had eight boys on his side. B-10 I dislike this girl because she always starts fights sometimes, and when she gets beat she al­ ways starts crying and goes home. G-10 I dislike this girlbecause she brings on nasty things, and brings on many fights.She is a very, very, very poor sport. G-9 This boy is always fighting, and when he fights, he fights dirty. He is nasty. He curses. He picks fights with small children, and steals other people*s possessions, and I don*t like him and he doesn’t like me. He fights with me and my other boy friends. B-ll I dislike this person because he always gets in fights and gets everyone else in the fight with him. He can’t fight by himself. B-ll Gossips and ridicules.

While boys are much con­

cerned with the bully and fighter, girls are very resent­ ful of the one who gossips, ridicules, or is catty.


seldom mention these traits in their associates, although they do sometimes recognize them in the girls. I do not like her because she talks about people behind their backs, and she sometimes thinks she is smart. She makes fun of people if they don’t do everything right* She is not thoughtful. She

53 is unkind in all ways. She will not let people in on things when they want to be. She calls people names. G-ll She accuses me of things I do not do or say. And she talks about me and she makes people to be­ lieve her. She bosses me around and she thinks she»s an Angel. G-10 I do not like this girl because she gossips and is untidy and disrespectful. She is not fair, shows off, and other things, and thinks shefs smart. That is why I do not like her. B-9 This girl gossips behind my back, and if I say I don»t like something of hers, she says I*m jealous. G-9 She most always calls people names.



This study was undertaken in an effort to learn from children their own qualifications for friends.


use was made of check lists, or other suggestive devices, since it was felt that this would be adult imposition on the childfs values.

In order to secure each child*s

own opinions, the children were directed to think of a specific person, their best friend, and to write the things about that person which they liked; then to think of the„person in the group whom they liked the least, and to write down the things disliked about that person. It was felt that by thinking of a specific person, then writing the first quality which came to mind, a fairly true picture of the childfs own values would result. Pour schools had been chosen originally to part­ icipate in this study, two in a large urban area, and two in suburban communities.

Since two of the schools

included only the first six grades, it was soon apparent that It would be necessary to secure more reports from seventh and eighth graders.

For this reason, the survey

was extended to include two additional schools in the

urban area. While no report of class reaction was required, many teachers commented upon the interest evidenced and the intensity with which the children worked.

The child

ren*s own statements attest to their thoughtful consid­ eration of the problem, and their insight into desirable and undesirable traits of personality. At the first school where the questionnaire was tried, several of the teachers reported that children would say, "There^ no one in this class whom I dislike. This brought about the following paragraphs which were added to the directions for giving the questionnaire: In certain instances children have responded with: ffBut there is no one in this class whom I dislike.*1 If this should happen, will you please say to your group: ,fThis does not mean that you actually dislike a person, but in every group there are those whom you like less than many of the others. Try to think what things about that person make you like him less than you do the others.” Of the 1>023 responses considered in the survey, only eight papers were discarded as being illegible, or because the child had written nothing beyond his name and the name of the school. Personality traits children like.

The first

question which this study attempted to answer was:


56 are the personality traits which make a child popular with his classmates? Table I shows the personality traits children like in their friends, arranged in order of frequency of mention,

A general term is given in capital letters,

followed by the various personality traits which were listed under that heading.

In the remainder of the

charts comparing personality traits, the order estab­ lished in Table I will be used, and only the general term will be given. A study of Table I will show that more than half of the children--7?6 of a possible 1,023--mentioned friendliness as a highly desirable quality in an asso­ ciate.

The quality of friendliness was mentioned nearly

twice as often as any other quality. The qualities of kindness and courtesy ranked second and third, respectively. Children rated the character traits of honesty and fairness very high.

While honesty implies a great

deal more than fairness, the two qualities were frequently applied to the same person.

When it came to describing

a dishonest person, the children were explicit, using such terms as:

rfHe steals things.”

”He tells the big­

gest lies you ever heard.” And of the unfair they said:


Frequency of mention


FRIENDLY (likes everyone, popular, good personality, sweet, nice)



KIND (considerate* thoughtful, gentle, helpfulr-300) (helps me, does things for me— -108)














UNSELFISH (does for others, shares, gives to me)



HAPPY (gay, likes jokes, even temper, always smiling, laughing)






COOPERATIVE (plays what others want, doesn’t have to have own way)



Reasons for liking a friend



(fair, doesnft cheat--

(neat, tidy)


11 (not stuck-up, doesn’t 1I+8











Frequency of mention











































. 10


Reasons for liking a friend ATHLETIC SKILL CLEAN SPEECH

(doesn’t swear)

DOESN’T RIDICULE OR GOSSIP (minds own business— 14.9)

(is about my size)


(not afraid, not chicken)

(not boy-crazy, not girl-crazy)



In the Tables which follow only the words which are given in capital letters will be used to in­ dicate traits which children like in their friends•

59 "He doesn *t play fair."

"She copies my papers."


cheats in games." It may be somewhat of a surprise to those who know the elementary school child to realize that he values cleanliness so highly, giving it sixth place. Both boys and girls show great concern for well combed hair and clean shoes, mentioning them almost every time any allusion is made to cleanliness or tidiness.

In the

children*s estimation, physical attractiveness is far less important than cleanliness, and the clothes one wears are of even less importance, ranking fifteenth and nineteenth, respectively. Children hold good sportsmanship in high regard, ranking it fifth.

They also rank unselfishness and co­

operation in seventh and tenth places, respectively.


these three factors could be considered together to in­ dicate a willingness on the part of the individual to follow group desires rather than to impose his own will upon others, their importance would be even more appar­ ent.

A total of 686 responses would then give these

combined factors second place in the children’s estima­ tion of the qualities which make for friendship. The happy, cheerful child was held in high esteem by both boys and girls.

Many children described their

60 best liked friend as one who ”always has a smile on his face,” or:

”He is cheerful and we hardly ever

argue." Similar interests do much to build friendships, judging by the responses of some 18? children. Both boys and girls felt that obedience was a desirable attribute, as was clean speech. The children did not list disobedience as a definite attribute but referred to it much more specifically when they reported such things as: supposed to."

"He plays in the bushes and he is not "She talks to people when she is supposed

to be doing her work."

"He is always causing trouble."

Qualities disliked. Of the qualities disliked, as shown in Table II, conceit ranked first, and disturbs ranked second.

Both of these qualities are often devices

for attention-getting.

Nearly half of all children re­

sponding— i.e., 482 of a possible 1,023— expressed dis­ like for the child who shows off to gain attention. Selfishness was mentioned 284 times as a reason for dislike.

The child who "won't share with me," who

"likes her own way, and if she doesn't get it, she gets mad," is paving the way for his own ostracism. Next in order of dislike was the unfriendly child. As one boy said of his classmate, "He is hard to get along


Reasons for disliking associate CONCEITED smart)

Frequency of mention


(shows off, thinks he’s 1^.82


DISTURBS (disobedient, trouble maker, gets others in trouble)






UNFRIENDLY (likes few, unpopular, poor personality, nasty and mean)










RIDICULES (catty, gossips, teases, tat­ tles, doesn’t mind own business, calls names)










WON’T COOPERATE (argues, won’t play, wants own way)













(spoiled brat, won’t share)

(lies, cheats, steals)

(bullies, picks on others)


(rude, has no manners)

(talks dirty)


(untidy, messy, dirty)

(can’t take a joke, crabby)




Frequency of mention










COWARD (sissy# tries to get out of things, blames others)

























Reasons for disliking associate SEX

(boy crazy, girl crazy)


(not thoughtful, not understanding)



(bad ideas)

(mean to animals)


with and doesn»t seem to want any friends*11 Others re­ ported,

”1 like this girl least because she is snobbish

and unfriendly,” and ”He wouldn't be friends with anyone* People of all ages are sensitive to the injustice gossip and ridicule* Children held this factor of sufficient importance to rank it eighiiiin dislikes*


importance is further emphasized when it is noticed that eighty-eight children list its absence as an important reason for liking a person* Qualities ranked among the first ten in likes, as listed in Table I, together with their opposites as listed in dislikes in Table II, included:

(1) friend­

liness and unfriendliness, (2) courtesy and discourtesy, (3 ) honesty and dishonesty, (1+) unselfishness and self­ ishness, and (5) cleanliness and lack of cleanliness* Since both the positive and negative qualities were listed within the first ten placings, it was evident that the children gave great weight to these factors of personality* While sex was seldom mentioned as a factor in friendship, Its importance was evident when the child­ ren^ choices of best-liked or least-liked associates were compared, as in Table III*

Of the

boys re­

sponding to qualities liked, 393 chose a boy as bestliked associate.

Only ninety-one, or 19 per cent,



. Frequency Age 8-10


of mention

Age 11-12

Age 13-15


BOYS* < CHOICE FOR BEST LIKED FRIEND Chose boys Chose girls Total

158 33 191

120 33 153

115 25 li+O

393 91 1+81+


12ljia 165


lj-9 133

85 1+1 126

293 131 1+21+

GIRLS* CHOIDE FOR BEST LIKED FRIEND Chose boys Chose girls Total

3k 202


23 ll+8 171

20 112 132

77 1+62 539


116 113 229

65 108 173

71 57 128

252 278 530

indicated a girl as best liked friend.

When it came to

indicating least liked associate, of the l+2l+ responding, 131 (or about 31 p e r cent) indicated that a girl in the group was the one least liked. Sex as a factor in determining friendship seemed to be more important to girls than to boys.

Of 539 girls

responding to qualities liked, only seventy-seven, or less than 12*5 p e r cent, chose a boy as best liked friend, while of the 530 responding, 252 (or more than 1+7*5 p e r cent) indicated boys as least liked associates. Effect of maturation. The second problem to be considered in this study was:

Do these traits change

from grade to grade in the elementary and junior high school? As the study progressed, it became evident that chronological age, rather than grade, should be the basis for comparison, since there was such a variance of ages in each grade. The children were grouped by two-year spans, the nine and ten year olds comprising the first group; the eleven and twelve year olds the second group; and the thirteen and fourteen year olds the third group.


eight year olds were included with the first group, and the fifteen year olds with the third, since there were

66 few of either age level in the survey. Desirable and undesirable personality traits, listed according to age groups, are shown in Tables IV, V, VI, and VII. Boys in the first group, the eight to ten year olds (Table IV) were concerned with their own interests, ranking kindness first. traits as:

They mentioned frequently such

"He helps me,"

izing the personal element.

"He shares with me," emphas­ They also showed consider­

able resentfulness toward such acts as:

"He hits me."

"He takes our ball and we have a -very hard time to get it." These younger boys valued friendliness next highest, while both the older groups of boys and all age groups of girls gave this quality first place. These boys placed less value than either of the older groups on such traits as happy, which they ranked twelfth, as compared to sixth and fourth places accorded it by the second and third groups; and cooperation, which they ranked seventeenth, as compared with the second group which ranked it in eighth place. This group resented the fighter, listing that quality in second place in their dislikes.

In this,

they are closer to the oldest boys who ranked fighting as third most important reason for dislike.


Reasons for liking a friend

Frequency Frequency Frequency of mention of mention of mention Age 8-10 Rank Age 11-12 Rank Age 13-15 Rank

Fr i e n d l y Ki n d helps me Courteous Honest fair

78 (50) (31) 81 52 (30) (34) 6k

Good sport Cl e a n Unselfish Happy Similar interests Cooperative Good w o rker Not conceited Obedient Attractive



56 16 28 9 16 14

11 10

Athletic skill C l e a n speech D o e s n ’t ridicule E v e n temper Nice clothes

27 17

D o e s n ’t fight Loyal C l e a n thoughts Not b o s s y Leader


Healthy Courage Family Sex Long a s sociation Size


6 4 5

4 i

8 3 2 2 2 1

2 1 6 4 3 7 5 12* 8

95 (26) (13) 39 50 (28) (17) 4 5 39 P


89 (25) 5* (8) 33 2 21



6i 12


26 24 18 29 16

8 9 10 6* 11

9 11 i4 19 20

26 26 7 12 11

8 8 16

10 20 21 21

9 6 5 3



15 17 18 20 22

18 22 23* 23f




3 2 4



5 9*



4i 29 14

12* 13



19* 20 21* 19* 21* 22

(9) 23


43 30

3 6 10

18 38 49 12 25 l4

21 15



13* 7 12 9 11

21 7 6 12 6

9 16 !7*

6 6 10

Hi pi








2 3

20 20 18






Reasons for disliking an associate Conceited Disturbs Selfish Unfriendly Dishonest Fights hurts me Discourteous Ridicules Swears

Frequency Frequency Frequency of mention of mention of mention Age 8-10 Rank Age 11-12 Rank Age 13*15 Rank 75 50 35 27 14-8

1 3 5 7 1*

(14-5) (12) 57 25 21 32

2 8f 10* 6

Poor sport Not clean Won*t cooperate Bad temper Bossy

21 22 12 2*5

Poor worker Sex Unkind Poor clothing Dirty thoughts

10 3 13 1 3

jt 12

Coward Bad companions Appearance Disloyal Smokes



Poor player Jealous Cruel Not healthy



10* 9 8* 11





71 60 k5

1 2 3 6 k

60 kl 23 18 15

1 2 5_ 8* 10*

22 3|4-

(35) (5) ko 12 2k 10

3_ 11*


8 7 12 5

19 20 17 17 13

10 n9f l 11* 13

12 21 18 19 3

12* 6 8* 7 15

20 2 7 5 3

9* 18 15 16 17*

16 15 1 2 7

9 10* 17 16 13

8 3



6 6 6






1 2 1 1

17 16 17 17


(17) (5)

1 1 1 2

19 19 19 18*


69 The second group of boys, the eleven and twelve year olds, ranked courtesy in second place, a much higher ranking than either of the other groups gave it.


values corresponded closely to those of the younger boys on such qualities as honest and unselfish, but they were closer to the older group in their estimation of the happy individual and the good worker.

The second group boys

valued obedience and unselfishness above either of the other two groups. The thirteen to fifteen year olds ranked similar interests as the second best liked quality, while the other two groups ranked it in eighth and twelfth place, respectively.

This group also valued the happy indivi­

dual and the good worker much higher than either of the other groups, and valued honesty and fairness and unself­ ishness less highly. The older children, (groups two and three) showed less concern in their statements over the highly personal problem, but were increasingly aware of group or society needs.

They valued such qualities as sportsmanship and

cooperation, both of which make for group accord, and disliked those qualities which affect the group adversely, such as arguing, talking back, or getting the group into trouble•

70 The older boys, the thirteen to fifteen year olds, were less concerned about dishonesty than were boys of the younger groups, but were more aware of ridicule, poor work habits, and the lack of cleanliness, according to figures in Table V.

Boys of the youngest group were only

slightly concerned about the poor worker* Both younger groups of boys considered swearing an important reason for disliking an associate, ranking it sixth and fifth, but the third group boys were less con­ cerned, ranking it twelfth* Except for some variance in rank order, all age groups of boys seemed in agreement that the first ten factors (as determined in the total scores listed in Tables I and II) were of great importance, ranking the prime ten among the first thirteen places. There seemed to be even less variance in the dif­ ferent age groups among girls than among boys, according to the tabulations in Tables VI and VII. With the girls, as with the boys, the younger ones ranked kindness and honesty much higher than did the older ones (see Table V), and were much more disturbed by those who fight.

The two younger groups ranked fights

in fifth and sixth places, respectively; but the third group was less concerned and gave it thirteenth place


Reasons for liking a friend

Frequency Frequency Frequency of mention of mention of mention Age 8-10 Rank Age 11-12 Rank Age 13-15 Rank

Friendly Kind helps me Courteous Honest fair

158 (92) (I|-0) 132 9k

(57) (37) 9k

Good sport Clean Unselfish Happy Similar interests

60 87 kl

35 32

Cooperative Good worker Not conceited Obedient Attractive


Athletic skill Clean speech Doesn»t ridicule Even temper Nice clothes

12 25 2k 18 18

DoesnTt fight Loyal Clean thoughts Not bossy Leader

25 8 7 8

Healthy Courage Family Sex Long association Size

10 k k

28 22 39 28


— 2 1


185 (68) 2 (i5) 83 80 3i

1 2 3





Uk kl

k O 9 10 7 iii %8 Hi

5i 55 ^-7 33 35 21 21

170 (39) , (1) ko kO (16)

1 5} 5}


8} 7l 6


38 ki 18 55

6 k 12 2








9, 12}

k5 19

3 11



9 12

15: lk




!5i 15*

18 16 18 19 23

13 11

15 8

13 16

18| 19 I8i 20-1

9 7 10 7 5

17 18} 16 18} 19}



2 k

21} 20

5 2 1 1

22 22}

16 12i

17 20 20 21 22



19} 21}




k 5 k

lfa® 18 19}

2 6

21 17


Reasons for disliking an associate Conceited Disturbs Selfish Unfriendly Dishonest Fights hurts me Discourteous Ridicules Swears Poor sport Not clean Won’t cooperate Bad temper Bossy

2 1

85 92 70 70 76 (32) (21)

53 60 44

h i 4s 3 6 5 9 10


(9) (1)

1 2

40 22

3 7

10 23 30 15

6 5 12*

12 13 11

31 14 35 25 23

10 16: 9 11 13

20 19 15 17 7

9, 12* 10 15

10 22 17 5 5

i4 15 20 20

8 16 7 4 7

Uj11 15, 17* . 15

2li 18 2li 19 20

4 2 2

16 17* 18* 18*

13 12 3

i4 i3 15 16 19

Coward Bad companions Appearance Disloyal Smokes

2 22 5 2 1

20 20 17 20 21i

1 1 1



ko 4 7

96 71

k 1 l6 2 24

k l 78 49 26 25 28

(19) (15)

1 2 3

95 82 76

8 5 6 12

Poor worker Sex Unkind Poor clothing Dirty thoughts

Poor player Jealous Cruel Not healthy

Frequency Frequency of mention of mention Age 11-12 Rank Age 13-15 Rank

Frequency mention Age 8-10 Rank

2 1f 2lJ —

6 4 4

7 5 l 3 1 --

23i 22 23i —


« _ —

— —

- -




(see Table VI)• The eight to ten year old girls were not so sen­ sitive to ridicule as were their older sisters, and prob­ ably were not so practiced in using it. When it Is noted that the thirteen to fifteen year old girls rated conceit the number one disliked quality, and gave lack of conceit third place in qualities desir­ able in friends, something of the intensity of their feel­ ing may be appreciated.

They didnft like the "stuck-up”

and the "show-off.w The older girls ranked happiness much higher than did the other age groups.

They gave it second place, as

compared with the ninth and fourth places accorded it by the first and second groups.

The third group agreed more

closely with.the second group on such traits as happiness and obedience, and with the first group on the traits of sportsman ship and similar interests. In personality factors most disliked, there was considerable difference in value of the quality dishonest. The first group ranked it third, while both of the other groups ranked it seventh, as shown in Table VI. Groups one and three attached considerable Import­ ance to the factor, not clean, but the second group (the eleven and twelve year olds) relegated it to fifteenth

74 place. Ability to analyze factors of personality. The next question to be considered by this study was the problem:

At about what age is a child able to analyze

and express the reasons for his likes.and dislikes? It was not within the scope of the present study to attempt to give a complete answer to the question. However, it was evident from an analysis of the child-* ren’s replies as presented in preceding chapters, and from the response frequencies, that a child who has attained an educational maturity of fourth grade level can both analyze and express his reasons for likes and dislikes.

It seems reasonable to assume

that this abil­

ity to determine personality traits which are pleasing or displeasing, must develop at amuch earlier age than was included in this survey. In a tabulation of the children’s responses, it was found that in reporting qualities liked, the eight to twelve year old boys listed a median of three responses, and the thirteen to fifteen year olds a median of four responses.

In qualities disliked, the median for'the

eight to twelve year old boys was again three, but the older boys listed a median of two.

The range in number

of items, one to sixteen for both likes and dislikes,

75 was greatest for the ten and eleven year olds. The girls followed much the same pattern as the boys in their responses, but with a median slightly higher in qualities liked.

The eight to ten year old

girls listed a median of four qualities liked, while the eleven to fifteen year olds established a median of five items per person.

The greatest range was in the eleven

year old group, with a range of from one to sixteen re­ sponses.

In qualities disliked, the girls established

a constant median of three responses for all age groups, with the widest range, one to fourteen responses, in the eleven and twelve year old groups. The younger children listed nearly as many qual­ ities per person as did the older ones, and the clarity of their perception made their responses difficult to distinguish from those of children in the higher grades. Ability in written expression, however, was considerably higher in the upper grades, as would be expected. Traits boys value compared with those girls value. The fourth problem under consideration by the present study was:

Is there an appreciable difference in traits

that boys value as compared with those that girls value? Tables VIII and IX were devised to show the com­ parison of the girls and boys in the matter of likes and


PERSONALITY TRAITS BOYS LIKE IN THEIR FRIENDS COMPARED WITH THOSE GIRLS LIKE Reasons for liking a friend Friendly Kind helps me Courteous Honest fair

Frequency of mention by boys


Frequency of mention by girls


263 (101) (52) 153 123 (72) (60) 132

J2 k

(97) (72) 169

349 99 115 83 91

3 7 6 9 8

1I4.2 175 116 145 96

7 5 9 6 11

Good sport Clean Unselfish Happy Similar interests Cooperative Good worker Hot conceited Obedient Attractive


513 (199) (56) 255

1 2






11 15 12 16

117 90 102 79 69

8 12 10


10 13 19 18 .20


19 16 15 17 18

kl L6 61 kl

Athletic skill Clean speech Doesn't ridicule Even temper Nice clothes

26 30 21

Doesn't fight Loyal . Clean thoughts Hot bossy Leader

35 17 19 7 11

Healthy Courage Family Sex Long association Size

12 10 £ k 7 7

17 22 21 26 2k

23 21 b

27* 26 26

P 62 ?2 49

37 21*. 21 20 . 13 12 8 11 8 3 2

20 21 22

23 2k

25, 27i 26 2i i 28




Reasons for disliking an associate

Frequency of mention by boys

Conceited Disturbs Selfish Unfriendly Dishonest

206 157 103 82 10l+

Fights Discourteous Ridicules Swears Poor sport

119 71 59 81 52

Rank 1 2

It £

Frequency of mention by girls 276 2k$ 181 166 138

Rank 1 2 3

£ 5

3 7 9 6 10

93 129 117 83 ' 98

9 6 7 10 8

8 11

11 12


Not clean Won*t cooperate Bad temper Bossy Poor worker

63 ij-7 3I430 I4.6



82 76 67 58 37

Sex Unkind Poor clothing Dirty thoughts Coward

20 21 8 13 19

16 15 20 18 17

i+2 37 21 15 6

15, 164 17 184 22

Bad companions Appearance Disloyal Smokes Poor player

.9 7

19 21 25 24-sF 22

15 13 11 8 2

184 19 20 21

Jealous Cruel Not healthy

3 2 3



23 2£§


2 5

& 23* 2

2 ***■*



dislikes, respectively*

The similarities, it will be

noted, were far more pronounced than were the differences. Both boys and girls gave identical rank to the qualities: friendly, kindness, and honesty* Both boys and girls listed the same eight basic liked qualities within the first ten positions. Athletic skill was rated nearly twice as high hy boys as by girls, while the girls were far more im­ pressed than were the boys by the companion who "minds her own business," or "doesnft tattle." The boys ranked sportsmanship, similar interests, and unselfishness higher than did the girls.

The girls,

in turn, ranked courtesy, cooperation, and a happy dis­ position somewhat higher than did the boys. In traits disliked, the greatest difference occurred in the trait, fights, which the boys ranked third, while the girls ranked it ninth.

The boys also expressed dis­

approval more frequently of the lack of cleanliness than did the girls. Children overwhelmingly deplored the one who swears or indulges in "dirty talk."

Boys were more con- .

cerned about swearing than were the girls, listing it in sixth place, while the girls disliked it sufficiently to accord it ninth place*

79 Both boys and girls were about equally agreed that ridicule was a valid reason for dislike, ranking it in ninth and seventh position, respectively* Summary*

Children of all age groups studied

had high regard for the child who is friendly and kind. They also valued good sportsmanship, good manners, cheer­ fulness, and such character qualities as honesty, trust­ worthiness, truthfulness and loyalty. show-off and the unfriendly child.

They disliked the

The child who dis­

turbs others, who demands attention, who fights, and bullies, brought about his own unpopularity. There can be little doubt that children who had attained a fourth grade level could and did analyze qualities of personality and character which are desir­ able or undesirable in their associates.

That they were

able to express themselves was evident from their own responses presented in this study.

While there was some

slight difference in the weight given certain of the per­ sonality qualities, such as sportsmanship, fighting and gossiping, boys and girls generally valued the same virtues and deplored the same faults.

CHAPTER VII CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS A study of the responses presented in the pre­ ceding chapters gives a very definite picture of child­ ren^ likes and dislikes concerning the personality traits of their friends, and of their ability to judge their companions. I. 1.


A child who has attained an educational mat­

urity of fourth grade level can both analyze and express his reasons for personality qualities liked and disliked in his associates.

This ability to determine personality

traits must develop at a much earlier age than was in­ cluded in this study. 2.

Since friendliness was the most often men­

tioned factor of personality, it is of prime importance to elementary school pupils of both sexes. 3.

The traits of friendliness, kindness, honesty,

courtesy and sportsmanship were the personality qualities listed most frequently in this study as requisites for popularity. I|.. All age groups and both sexes were in complete

81 accord in denouncing attention-getting devices, such as showing-off and disturbing others, placing those qualities at the top of the list of dislikes* 5*

Other adverse qualities disliked by children

were selfishness, unfriendliness and dishonesty, 6*

There is little significant difference in

traits valued by boys as compared with those valued by girls.

Boys seemed to disapprove those qualities to

which they are more prone than are girls, such as fight­ ing, swearing and lack of cleanliness. Girls disliked ridicule and selfishness, traits probably more pronounced among their sex than among the boys, 7*

There was little change in value of traits

as a child matured, but the focus of attention did shift from self to social interest* 8*

It is doubtful whether children have either

as many virtues or as many vices as their critics have accorded them,

A child who is popular is seldom accred­

ited with any of the less desirable qualities, while a child who is unpopular is conceded few, if any, of the desirable qualities.

Much of this may be due to the halo

effect, which was found by Hardy1 to color the opinions of children when evaluating their friends.


Martha Crumpton Hardy, "Social Recognition at

82 9.

Sex is a factor in determining friendship.

A child tends more often to mention a member of the same sex as best liked, but indicates with considerable fre­ quency the opposite sex as least liked.

This tendency

was more pronounced among girls than among boys, accord­ ing to the evidence in this study. 10.

Neither long association, proximity, nor size

is a significant factor in friendship, according to the findings of this study. 11.

It is far more important to a child that his

associates be clean and neat than that they be physically attractive or expensively dressed. 12.

Children with similar interests are mutually

attracted, and these interests tend to form a bond of friendship. II. RECOMMENDATIONS Education, both at home and at school, must ac­ cept the responsibility for helping children to develop personality traits which will make them popular with their associates. It is the duty of parents and teachers to provide a program of education which will help the child to acthe Elementary School Age,” Journal of Social Psychology, III (October, 1937). -----


quire and establish desirable qualities of personality. While it is highly desirable to have the assistance of specialists with all maladjusted individuals, it is im­ possible, in many situations, to refer any but the most severe cases to the psychologist. A program of personality training must transfer the child’s attention to acts which bring him approval rather than attempt to eradicate those traits which bring attention, but are distasteful to the group, and disastrous to the status of the individual.

The child

may be unwilling to relinquish his undesirable habits which afford him a certain satisfaction, until he has established approaches which are more rewarding in their effect.

Opportunity must be provided for the child to

behave in a desirable and acceptable manner.

Care must

be taken to make certain that such experiences are per­ sonally satisfactory to the child. While it is not the purpose of the present study to set up such a program of training, the following sug­ gestions are offered as being particularly applicable to personality growth:. 1.

Perhaps the first step for the teacher is to

administer a sociometric test



in order to determine

J. L. Moreno, Who Shall Survive? Washington,


exactly which children are not accepted by the group. 2.

A study of those children who are not accepted

should be made to determine in what ways they lack desir­ able qualities, or which of the undesirable ones they are practicing. 3.

The results of many children's own evalua­

tions, as shown in Tables I and II of this study, might well be given to the childand discussed with him.


Is felt that if children are able to analyze and report upon the qualities which they like or dislike in their friends, they are sufficiently mature to make use of such a report. ' 4.

Parents should have access to the findings

in this study, for there is much that they can do to assure their child's popularity. 5.

Helping the child to know what others like

and dislike in behavior is not enough.

The child's re­

sponse to a given situation is often so highly charged with emotion that he cannot control his reactions.


must be helped to develop a growing sense of security. Security comes through his ability to handle situations with which he is confronted.

No one can give security

to another, but opportunity can be provided for the D.C.:


Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Company,

85 individual to develop his own sense of security through success and recognition* 6.

It is Important to help a child gain recog­

nition for his personal worth*

This comes through pro­

viding him opportunity to do some task within the range of his ability, and which has worth in the opinion of the group.

As the child does the job he must be given

honest recognition for his efforts*

His associates must

be not only aware of his accomplishment, but must evid­ ence their approval of it. 7.

The adult must help the child establish de­

sirable status.

This comes through approval, gained by

contributing to the group welfare or by furthering the interests of group activities. 8.

It is most important to help the child gain

an awareness of, or sensitivity to, the needs of others. This can be done in many ways, one of which Is by pro­ viding him opportunity to help someone else who is less able than he, or does something less well. 9.

Parents and teachers can do much to encourage

friendliness in a child.

Giving the shy child a small

task which requires him to speak to, or to do something for others helps him to become more friendly.

The adult

must provide for the success of the venture, with no


chance of failure, else the child will become even more shy and reluctant to offer the friendliness that he doubt­ less would like to be able to give.

Sending the child to

another teacher with a note, or to a neighbor with some small gift, where the child will be received with warmth and appreciation, will do wonders in helping him to be­ come more friendly.

Such ventures and relationships

must always be pleasant and sympathetic, even on those occasions in which the child forgets, or fails to un­ derstand directions* 10. siderate.

Children can be taught to be kind and con­ While they often seem cruel, they have a

quick sympathy and are eager to help others less fort­ unate, when both the kind and the cruel aspects are brought to their attention,

children who are encour­

aged to help with small tasks at home, who are allowed to help care for younger brothers and sisters, or neigh­ bor children, and who are praised for their efforts, de­ velop habits of consideration and kindness so highly desirable in friendship. 11.

It is important to make sure that children

are not imposed upon with too many demands, and that their responsibilities are not beyond their abilities. Failure, with its recriminations, quickly kills the de-


sir© to be kind. 12.

Since happiness and gaiety are valued so

highly, they should be encouraged in the child.


gay, fun-loving adults do much to encourage a like atti­ tude in children.

Teachers who laugh and joke with their

classes, and who laugh and joke with their fellow teach­ ers, parents who are jolly companions, not only create a pleasant environment--they encourage the children to a like attitude.

Adults should share their fun and

humor with children, for it is one of the easiest and most satisfactory ways to develop a like quality in the child. 13.

The child who bids for attention and who

disturbs others is greatly in need of help.

It is often

possible, through constructive individual training, to help such a child to overcome his faults.

The teacher

does much to correct and lessen his faults when she pro­ vides the show-off with tasks at which he can excel, and in which the results are so evident that the child merits the attention he so desires.

These tasks do not have to

be academic in nature, but must be given dignity and im­ portance in the eyes of his associates; and the child must have tangible proof both of its value and of his own worth in the group.

Re-training the show-off is


slow and often discouraging, but it is very important for the social adjustment of the child* 1I4.*

If the usual school work is beyond the childfs

capabilities, the teacher should provide compensating tasks in which he can excel, and which will assure his feeling of adequacy and well-being.

It Is only wheh such

a child does feel well-liked and a contributing member of the class that he is emotionally able to cope with the too-difficult academic tasks with any degree of satisfac­ tion. 15.

The parent can do much in the home by pro­

viding work within the ability of the child, and sincere approbation commensurate with the child’s efforts.


is also highly important that parents provide tasks which make the child feel a necessary part of the family omit. Contributing to the interests or welfare of the group seems to be one of the basic needs of mankind.

A wide

range of duties, requiring varied abilities and accorded equal importance both at home and at school, with result­ ant satisfaction assured to each individual, is a sound basis for a program of personality development.

Too dif­

ficult tasks, too frequent failures, and too much crit­ icism can so crush a child that he has none of the friendly gaiety which makes him a delightful companion.



Sine© children, by their own account, place

a high value upon a clean, neat appearance, parents can surely see that their children are clean and neat*


clothes are not necessary, nor is physical attractiveness, but children do not condone dirty clothes and person, nor an untidy appearance.




Allport, Gordon W., Personality# Mew York: and Company, 1937*

Henry Holt

Hsia, Jui-Ching, A Study of the Sociability of Elementary School Children# New York: Teachers College, Columbia University. Contributions to Education, number 322, Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1923* 61f pp. Jennings, Helen Hall, Leadership and Isolation. Longmans, Green and Company, 19^-3*

Mew York:;

Moreno, J. L. Who Shall Survive? Washington D. C. Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Company, 193^4-* Murchison, Carl, Editor, A Handbook of Child Psychology. Worcester, Massachussetts. Clark University Press, Second Edition, Revised, 1933*

Warner, W. Lloyd, Havighurst, Robert J., Loeb, Martin B. Who Shall Be Educated? New York: IW i -

Harper Brothers,




Atkin, Ellen M., “Sociometric Experiments With Isolated Children In a 7 A Junior High School Group,” Baltimore Bulletin of Education, 22:95-9 February, Adler, Alexandria, “Influence of Early Experiences Upon The Formation of The Personality,” The Nervous Child, 6:318-20, July, 19I4.7• Baruch, Dorothy W., “Helping Children Understand Why They Behave As They Do,” Education Digest, 10:23-7# Feb­ ruary, 19^5 • Fischer, Robert P., “Signed Vs, Unsigned Questionnaires,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 30*220-5# July, I9I4.0.


Gruenberg, Sidonie Matsner, “Parents Cannot Do It Alone," National Parent-Teacher,lj.l: 18-19, June, 19^-7* Hardy, Martha Crumpton, "Social Hecognltion at The Element­ ary School Age," Journal of Social Psychology, 8:365' 386, 1937. Jenkins, R. L., and Glickman, Sylvia, "Patterns of Person­ ality Organization Among Delinquents," The Nervous Child, 62 329-39* July, 19i*-7. Kuhlen, Raymond G., and Lee, Beatrice J#, "Personality Characteristics and Social Acceptability in Adolessents," Journal of Educational Psychology, 3^:321 September, 195-3. Laycock, S. R., "The Responsibility of the Teacher In Developing Character," School, Elementary Edition, 35: 35:705-12:, June, 19^7. Wright, Verne, "Summary of Literature on Social Adjustment," American Sociological Review, volume VII, number 3, PP* i|i07-^22, June, l%-2. Young, Lyle L., Cooper, Dan H., "Some Factors Associated With Popularity,” Journal of Educational Psychology, Volume XXXV, number 9, PP.~3>13^*, December, 19^4-* C.


Bedoln, V/agharsh Hagop, "A Study of Sociometric Patterns in the Elementary School," A Master’s Thesis, The University of Southern California, 1914-6. Boynton, Catherine Anna, "Factors Influencing Choice of Friends Among Adolescent Girls," Master’s Thesis, The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1939. Davis, Binda C., "Factors influencing the Selection of Playmates,” Unpublished Master’s Thesis, The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 19q-0. Ohlheiser, Frances Ann, "Characteristics of Junior High School Pupils Who Are Most Frequently or Least Fre­ quently Chosen By Their Peers, Unpublished Master’s Thesis, The University of Southern California, I9I4-I4.*


Tryon, Caroline, "Evaluation of Adolesecent Personality by Adolescents," A Monograph. Society For Research In Child Development, V* if,, number if.*


To The Teacher

This questionnaire is for the purpose of securing data for a study of Personality Traits Affecting the Popu­ larity of Elementary School Children* Will you assist by giving the questionnaire to your class? When the question­ naire is completed you may give it to your school repre­ sentative. Directions for giving the questionnaire Pass the questionnaire, then read to the children the following: "We are studying ways to help boys and girls make .friends more easily. To do this we need to know the things boys and girls like or dislike in their classmates. Will you help us by giving the follow­ ing information?" 11You need not write your name.** f,Now write the name of the school, -your grade,*1



f,Where it says age, write the number of years old you were at your last birthday. Then count the months since then and write that number where it says monthsV "If you are a boy, put a check (make a ✓ on the board) after the word "boy”, but if you are a girl, put a check after the word 11girl,11 "Below the double line you will find the word 11LIKES,11 Read the directions. They say: (read with the class) Think of the boy or girl in this class whom you like the best. Then write the things you like about this person. Do not write the name of the person, but in the blank (show by pointing to own copy) write whether the one you are thinking about is a boy or a girl, "At the bottom of the page you see the directions which say Now Turn This Page Over. Will you turn the page?

96 "The directions below the word DISLIKES say: Think of the boy or girl in this class whom you like the least and write the things that you dislike about this person. Do not write the name of the person, but in the following blank write whether the one you are thinking about is a boy or a girl. "WILL YOU DO BOTH PARTS OP THIS TEST AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN? Do the first part, then go right on to the second part." Allow at least a thirty minute period for directions and completing the test. There is no time element involved, but it is important that each child have time to express himself, both in his likes and his dislikes. I am very grateful for the help you are giving me. If you care to note the reactions of the group to the test, and give me some idea of the average ability or intelligence of the group, I shall appreciate it. However, I do not wish this to be a burden to the teacher who is kind enough to give it. Thank you, Eleanor Groves 3762 S. Flower Los Angeles, 7 NOTE: In certain instances children have responded with, "But there is no one in this class whom I dislike." If this should happen, will you please say to your group: "This does not mean that you actually dislike a person, but in every group there are those whom you like less than many of the others. Try to think what things about that person make you like him less than you do the others." Do not insist that the child fill In either part of the survey if he is reluctant to do so, but please make a note of the fact, and any circumstances or reasons that might throw light on the case.

97 FRIENDS We are studying ways to help boys friends more easily. To do this we need things boys and girls like or dislike in Will you help us by giving the following

and girls make to know the their classmates. information?








LIKES Think of the boy or girl in this class like the best then write the things you like person; Do not write the name of the person following blank write whether the one you are about is a BOY or GIRL. I am thinking about a (boy or girl)


whom you about this but in the thinking

98 DISLIKES Now think of the boy or girl in this class whom you like less than the others, and write the things you do not like about this person. Do not write the name of the person but in the following blank write whether the one you are thinking about is a boy or a girl. I AM THINKING ABOUT A ___________ _ _______ (boy or girl)