The Multifaceted Impact of Peer Relations on Aggressive-Disruptive Behavior in Early Elementary School.

Developmental Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.21). 04/2012; DOI: 10.1037/a0028400
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Following a large, diverse sample of 4,096 children in 27 schools, this study evaluated the impact of 3 aspects of peer relations, measured concurrently, on subsequent child aggressive-disruptive behavior during early elementary school: peer dislike, reciprocated friends' aggressiveness, and classroom levels of aggressive-disruptive behavior. Teachers rated child aggressive-disruptive behavior in 1st and 3rd grades, and peer relations were assessed during 2nd grade. Results indicated that heightened classroom aggressive-disruptive behavior levels were related to proximal peer relations, including an increased likelihood of having aggressive friends and lower levels of peer dislike of aggressive-disruptive children. Controlling for 1st grade aggressive-disruptive behavior, the three 2nd grade peer experiences each made unique contributions to 3rd grade child aggressive-disruptive behavior. These findings replicate and extend a growing body of research documenting the multifaceted nature of peer influence on aggressive-disruptive behavior in early elementary school. They highlight the importance of the classroom ecology and proximal peer relations in the socialization of aggressive-disruptive behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the early childhood precursors and adolescent outcomes associated with grade school peer rejection and victimization among children oversampled for aggressive-disruptive behaviors. A central goal was to better understand the common and unique developmental correlates associated with these two types of peer adversity. There were 754 participants (46% African American, 50% European American, 4% other; 58% male; average age=5.65 at kindergarten entry) followed into seventh grade. Six waves of data were included in structural models focused on three developmental periods. Parents and teachers rated aggressive behavior, emotion dysregulation, and internalizing problems in kindergarten and Grade 1 (Waves 1-2); peer sociometric nominations tracked "least liked" and victimization in Grades 2, 3, and 4 (Waves 3-5); and youth reported on social problems, depressed mood, school adjustment difficulties, and delinquent activities in early adolescence (Grade 7, Wave 6). Structural models revealed that early aggression and emotion dysregulation (but not internalizing behavior) made unique contributions to grade school peer rejection; only emotion dysregulation made unique contributions to grade school victimization. Early internalizing problems and grade school victimization uniquely predicted adolescent social problems and depressed mood. Early aggression and grade school peer rejection uniquely predicted adolescent school adjustment difficulties and delinquent activities. Aggression and emotion dysregulation at school entry increased risk for peer rejection and victimization, and these two types of peer adversity had distinct as well as shared risk and adjustment correlates. Results suggest that the emotional functioning and peer experiences of aggressive-disruptive children deserve further attention in developmental and clinical research.
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