Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Carin, L. Neitzel

Committee Members

Dawn P. Coe, Mary. J. Moran


This study examined the nature of obese, overweight, and healthy weight children’s social interactions and experiences in a Head Start preschool classroom. Obese, overweight, and healthy weight children were observed during free interaction periods of the day (times when peers would serve as primary play partners). The children’s social interactions (including number of social bids, invitations, and their outcomes, social construction strategies, social roles) were observed and comparisons were made between twelve obese and overweight children and twenty six healthy weight peers. There were significant differences in the levels of overall assertiveness between the groups, with healthy weight children being more assertive. There were also significant differences in the use of social construction strategies, with obese and overweight children using more construction strategies overall, especially social referencing strategies. Implications for educators and suggestions for future research are also discussed.

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