Classroom social status, ethnicity, and ratings of stressful events

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Journal of Educational Research



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Ethnic membership and classroom social status were examined in relation to the ratings of stressful experiences among 273 children in fourth through sixth grades. Of these, 61.2% were Hispanic, and 32.2% Anglo. The high and low social status groups consisted of those who received the greatest and fewest numbers, respectively, of friendship nominations within each of the 11 classrooms (two girls and two bojs per room per group), leaving 185 children in the middle status group. Their overall ratings of 20 life events correlated .97 with earlier results from another group of 367 American children, while no conspicuous variations were observed by sex or grade. The Hispanic children rated 13 of the 20 events more stressful than the Anglo children, even though the scale values correlated .93 between the two ethnic groups. The Anglo children seemed to feel more successful as students, though at the cost of being more anxious. The scale value correlations among the social status groups were: high- middle, .93; middle-low, .88; low-high, .81. The popular children appeared to be paying a considerable cost of personal insecurity, while the low status children were very concerned about school-related experiences. All the children revealed an optimistic outlook for their continued betterment on a self- anchoring scale.

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