October 2019 Spotlight, Kyongboon Kwon, Ph.D.

This month, we are delighted to introduce Dr. Kyongboon Kwon (kwonk@uwm.edu) as our member in spotlight. Dr. Kwon is currently an Associate Professor in Educational Psychology at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her primary research interests focus on children’s socialization in the peer group and its impact on children’s school-related functioning. Her primary research interests focus on children’s socialization in the peer group and its impact on children’s school-related functioning. Specifically, she is interested in children’s naturally occurring peer groups (e.g., cliques, friendship groups) that have a potentially significant impact on children’s social and academic development. She is also interested in the application of social network analysis in studying children’s peer groups.

1 What drew you to do work on Asians, Asian American children and youth, or another topic that is important to you now? who was an important mentor to you in this work, or an influential particular study in the field or in a related field?

My primary research focus has been on children’s peer relationships in an elementary school setting. I had been an elementary school teacher in Korea before I moved to the US to start my graduate studies in school counseling and school psychology. School psychology was a well-integrated field for me given my elementary school teaching background and my interest in child psychology. I started researching peer relationships under my doctoral advisor, Dr. Michele Lease. I examined topics such as psychosocial properties of children’s interaction-based groups, or cliques, peer group norms and influence, and the contribution of group identification to children’s behavior and perceptions of others. I pursued postdoctoral training under Dr. Susan Sheridan and had fruitful opportunities to study home-school collaboration and also continue my primary focus on children’s socialization in the peer group.

2) A short paragraph describing a particular recent finding, current study, or recent publication and what makes you excited about it. 

More recently, I started researching the role of peers in children’s emotion socialization. Much research has focused on the role of parents in children’s emotion development, and relatively less is known regarding the nature and the mechanisms of emotion socialization in the peer group. In my recent studies, I found that peers are good evaluators of others’ emotions in that peer perceived emotions predict school-related outcomes, such as social behavior, social status in the peer group, and academic functioning. Also, children’s emotion-focused relationships do not exactly overlap with friendships, and emotion-focused relationships are uniquely associated with adjustment outcomes. I hope to further unpack children’s emotion socialization in the peer group through identifying meaningful constructs, developing measures, and providing practical implications.  

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