Mercer, S. H., & DeRosier, M. E. (2010). Selection and socialization of internalizing problems in middle childhood. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 29, 1031-1056. doi: 10.1521/jscp.2010.29.9.1031
This study investigated selection and socialization as contributors to homophily of internalizing problems during middle childhood. Longitudinal social network analyses were conducted to determine the extent to which similarity on depression, loneliness, and social anxiety influences friendship formation (i.e., selection) as well as the extent to which friendship contributes to similarity on these variables (i.e., socialization) across one academic year. Participants included 1,016 third grade students in 11 schools. Results suggested that children tended to select others with similar levels of loneliness, but not depression or social anxiety, as friends. In addition, children’s levels of loneliness, depression, and social anxiety became more similar to the average level of their friends over time. Discussion focuses on the consistency of the findings with studies of older populations as well as methodological considerations relevant to future studies.