Children’s Peer Relations and Theory of Mind (ToM) Abilities: Role of Empathy, Self-Concept and Coping Style During Middle Childhood
Theory of Mind (ToM) is the ability to attribute mental states, such as beliefs and desires, of oneself and others, and plays an important role in our everyday social behaviour (Astington, 1993, Wellman, 1990). Past research suggests that children’s perceptions of their peer relations, such as being accepted or rejected by fellow peers have significant associations with ToM abilities (Slaughter, Dennis, & Pritchard, 2002; Slaughter, Imuta, Peterson, & Henry, 2015). To date, few studies have explored how ToM affects children’s perceptions of peer relations (peer acceptance and rejection) during middle childhood (ages of 8-13 years). To address this gap in research, the current study investigated Canadian children’s (70, g=39, b-31, 9-12 years old) perceptions of peer relations and ToM abilities. Results focused on individual differences and correlations among children’s peer perceptions, self-perceptions, coping skills, and ToM abilities. Educational implications of the present findings will be discussed.