Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Patrick Friman


The purpose of this study was to investigate the social attitudes of school-aged children toward thumbsucking. Behavior during school-aged years contributes to the development of peer perceptions which may influence a child's self-concept and behavior for years to come. The hypothesis of the present experiment is that children who suck their thumbs are perceived less favorably by their peers. Thumb or finger sucking (hereafter referred to as thumbsucking) is a common and often enduring behavior that typically develops in infancy (Klackenberg, 1949). It is considered developmentally appropriate in infancy because sucking is an adaptive behavior infants use to nourish and calm themselves. However, if thumbsucking continues into later childhood or early adolescence it can become a habit independent of its original function, and become associated with unhealthy consequences.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Keith Martin McPherson May, 1989.