Joint Contributions of Peer Acceptance and Peer Academic Reputation to Achievement in Academically At Risk Children: Mediating Processes.
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The longitudinal relationships between two dimensions of peer relationships and subsequent academic adjustment were investigated in a sample of 543 relatively low achieving children (M = 6.57 years at Year 1, 1(st) grade). Latent variable SEM was used to test a four stage model positing indirect effects of peer acceptance and peer academic reputation (PAR) assessed in Year 2 on academic achievement in Year 5, via the effects of the peer relationships variables on perceived academic competence in Year 3 and effortful engagement in Year 4. As expected, the effect of PAR on engagement was partially mediated by perceived academic competence, and the effect of perceived academic competence on achievement was partially mediated by engagement. In the context of PAR, peer acceptance did not contribute to the mediating variables or to achievement. Findings provide a clearer understanding of the processes by which early peer-relationships influence concurrent and future school-related outcomes. Implications for educational practice and future research are discussed.