DeRosier, M. E. & Mercer, S. H. (2009). Perceived atypicality as a predictor of peer rejection and victimization: Implications for emotional adjustment and academic achievement. Psychology in Schools, 46, 375-387. doi: 10.1002/pits.20382
This study examined perceived behavioral atypicality as a predictor of children’s school-based adjustment. First, a descriptive pilot study was conducted to examine children’s reasons for nominating peers as behaviorally atypical. Then, atypicality was investigated in relation to school-based adjustment in a two-wave panel design. Social problems, emotional adjustment, and academic achievement were assessed in the fall and spring of a school year with 1,193 third-grade students via peer-, teacher-, and self-report instruments as well as school records. In the fall, atypicality was related to higher levels of social rejection and peer victimization as well as impaired emotional adjustment and academic achievement. When examined across the school year, atypicality, as mediated by higher levels of social rejection and peer victimization, predicted impaired emotional adjustment and academic achievement. Discussion focuses on the importance of considering behavioral atypicality as a broad risk factor with implications for school-based intervention.