Sociometric Status

Published on 31/07/2023

Sociometric status helps to analyze an individual’s social skills. It does this by looking into how different members of a group they belong to feel about interacting with them. The measure reveals a person’s social competence.

Social skills are essential for human growth and development. They are the backbone of individuals’ social well-being

The measurement process relies on a liking or disliking mechanism and is often used with children or adolescents to enhance their social skills.

Generally, sociometric status analyses aim to create inclusive peer relationships and improve an individual's social wellness.

What is Sociometric Status?

Sociometric status is a social skills measure that reflects how much group members like or dislike each other. The status is derived from principles of sociometry after individuals undergo a sociometric test or answer a sociometric questionnaire.

It reveals patterns of social acceptance or rejection within the group and provides insight into understanding individuals’ social behavior.

sociometric status

For instance, in adolescent groups, the individual who most members like gets a high sociometric status - an indication of social acceptance. They behave differently and are usually more accommodating than their disliked counterparts within the group.

On the other hand, the individuals who most group members dislike receive a low sociometric status, denoting social rejection. They score lower with adequate social skills that help create helpful social connections.

Through sociometric status studies, researchers can pinpoint the specific social skills that disliked individuals lack. In turn, action can be taken to help individuals develop the skills they need to become more sociable.

In this way, sociometric status helps promote individuals’ social development.

Its Role in Development Psychology

A child’s psychological growth, including their social and emotional development, is as essential as their physical and cognitive growth.

In development psychology, sociometric status analysis examines children’s ability to form social connections with their peers.

Proper socialization during childhood plays a critical role in shaping a child’s social and emotional well-being for the long haul.

Also, sociometric status studies on children monitor their progress in learning interpersonal skills and adapting to various social environments.

This is crucial because the emotional or behavioral consequences of children’s sociometric statuses can follow them into adulthood.

For instance, a child’s aggressiveness when interacting with others in a classroom might translate into violent actions in the future.

Monitoring the child’s social behavior can help find ways of promoting their social and emotional adaptation to various social situations. This helps prevent negative social behaviors, like aggression, from persisting into the future.

How is Sociometric Status Evaluation Performed?

To evaluate individuals’ sociometric status, members of a group rate each other following two primary methods – peer ratings and peer nominations.

sociometric statuses

Peer rating is a sociometric technique where participants use numerical terms to reveal how much they like their peers within the group. The researcher calculates an average of the ratings to determine each group member’s sociometric status.

On the other hand, the peer nomination technique asks group members to select individuals they like and dislike the most. Then the evaluator interprets the most-liked and least-liked ratings and classifies participants into different descriptive categories.

Descriptive Categories Used for Evaluation

Researchers use five distinct categories to explain the Sociometric status of individuals: popular, rejected, controversial, neglected, and average.

The descriptions below highlight the importance of sociometry in the classroom. But, you can apply the characteristics of individuals in each category across the board.

  • Popular

    Individuals in this category receive several positive and very few negative ratings from most group members. They are skilled at creating positive social interactions within the group.

    sociometric position

    Most, if not all, are friendly, cooperative, accommodating, and sensitive to their peers’ emotions. They are also capable of resolving conflict among their group members effectively. Because of this, popular kids can make great group leader

    Generally, they display less disruptive behaviors than their neglected peers and are high academic achievers.

    It is important to note that the degree of popularity among kids classified as popular varies. There are two sub-groups under this category that captures this difference:

    • Very popular kids – are highly charismatic and tend to draw their peers to them.
    • Accepted popular kids – most group members like these kids, but they are not as charismatic as the very popular ones.
  • Rejected

    Adolescents in the rejected sociometric status category receive many negative nominations and few positive ones. They exhibit disruptive social behaviors and have poor communication skills.

    Often, rejected kids are isolated, lonely, and most at risk of experiencing depression or abusing drugs.

    They are also the group members most likely to get diagnosed with conduct disorder or ADHD. That is because they struggle to stay focused on assigned tasks. As a result, they perform poorly in their studies.

    social status evaluation

    Rejected kids fall under two sub-groups:

    • Withdrawn-rejected – these individuals are socially withdrawn, timid, and often anxious in social situations. Their lack of confidence makes them easy targets for bullies.
    • Aggressive-rejected – these individuals are hostile and can be physically aggressive. They display threatening behavior and are usually the bullies in the group.

    It is easy to confuse the social skills deficit of individuals in the aggressive-rejected sociometric status sub-group for high social competence.

    They usually approach their peers to initiate conversations as popular kids do, but their peers reject such advances. A keen assessment is necessary to tell them apart.

  • Controversial

    Peer ratings for teenagers in this category are positive and negative in equal measure. Many group members like them, and many others dislike them.

    Their behaviors are similar to individuals in the popular category, although they also possess characteristics from the rejected group.

    Overall, controversial teenagers are social, cooperative, active, and assertive. But they are also aggressive, prone to anger, and disruptive behavior (often boys).

    They can make good group leaders even though they may appear arrogant and snobbish.

  • Neglected

    Adolescents categorized as neglected receive very few positive or negative ratings from their peers. They seem shy and can go unnoticed. Most members of the group neither like nor dislike them.

    Due to their poor social skills, neglected children struggle to make lasting friendships. However, they outperform others academically as they are highly motivated and independent.

    Overall, controversial teenagers are social, cooperative, active, and assertive. But they are also aggressive, prone to anger, and disruptive behavior (often boys).

    They can make good group leaders even though they may appear arrogant and snobbish.

    social standing
  • Average

    As the name suggests, individuals who fall under this sociometric status category get average positive and negative ratings.

    A small group of their peers like them, and few dislike them. For this reason, their circle of friends is always relatively small.

How to Help Individuals Increase Levels of Social Acceptance?

It is worth noting that peer ratings are the most common method for evaluating the sociometric status of individuals in a group.

peer popularity

However, when working on an individual’s social competence, getting social experts to analyze the data and provide input can increase the effectiveness of the exercise.

After examining data, experts can create efficient intervention measures to improve individuals’ likeability within the group. This, in turn, can help to increase sociometric status.

For example, say you were looking for an effective intervention strategy for neglected teenagers. One option can be to sign them up for a social skills training program that focuses on helping them overcome shyness and learn how to make friends.

On the other hand, rejected teens may need support to help them overcome anxiety and increase their confidence. Professionals can advise on the type of support required and how to go about it to achieve the best results.

To help individuals who score lower in social acceptance develop their social skills, conduct a test and create a sociogram through Sometics. On the Professional Account, you can access several social experts who work in the education and mental health care fields through our online help desk.

Get personal and expert advice on conducting social evaluations, including:

  • Tailoring the sociometric status evaluation method to specific social situations
  • Analyzing and interpreting the data obtained from the evaluation
  • Creating the best intervention strategies, and more.

Subscribe to our Professional Account to get started with Sometics Sociogram Maker!