Problem Statement: The preschool period is when the foundations of peer relations are laid and, for this reason, is an important period in terms of the short and long term effects of peer relations. Successful and independent relations built with peers during this period also determine a child’s mental health in future years. When children experience problems and failures in peer relations during this period, they bear the risk of developing behavioral and social incompatibilities in the future. Thus, their risk of experiencing mental retardation and behavioral problems increases.
Purpose of Study: The purpose of this research is to study the peer relations of 5-6 year old children in relation to age and gender.
Methods: The sample group of the present study consisted of 450 children, aged 5-6, who were attending preschools located in Denizli, Turkey. A form of demographic data, the Ladd and Profilet Child Behavior Scale, and the Victimization Scale were used as data gathering tools in the study. These tools were used by the teachers. A two-way variance analysis (ANOVA) technique was used in this study.
Findings and Results: The results indicated that statistically significant differences were found in the asocial behavior of children, the act of being excluded from the group and hyperactivity related to age. Some significant differences were also found in terms of aggression, prosocial behavior, hyperactivity and peer victimization in relation to the gender of children.
Conclusion and Recommendations:In general terms, age or gender is observed to affect all peer relation variables except social position. Results obtained in relation to age are striking, as they indicate that a one-year age difference may be crucial to behavior and peer relations in developmental terms during the preschool period. It was determined that gender is also an important variable that may affect peer relations among young children.
Keywords: Peer relations, age, gender, preschool period.