Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 87–104

Childhood Peer Relationship Problems and Psychosocial Adjustment in Late Adolescence


    • Christchurch School of Medicine
  • David M. Fergusson
    • Christchurch School of Medicine

DOI: 10.1023/A:1022618608802

Cite this article as:
Woodward, L.J. & Fergusson, D.M. J Abnorm Child Psychol (1999) 27: 87. doi:10.1023/A:1022618608802


Using prospective longitudinal data from the Christchurch Health and Development Study, this paper examined the relationship between teacher reported peer relationship problems at age 9 and psychosocial adjustment in late adolescence. Results showed that, by age 18, children with high rates of early peer relationship problems were at increased risk of externalizing behavior problems such as criminal offending and substance abuse, but were not at increased risk of anxiety disorder or major depression. Subsequent analyses revealed that these associations were largely explained by the effects of child and family factors associated with both early peer relationship problems and later adjustment. The most influential variable in explaining associations between peer relationship problems and later adjustment was the extent of children's early conduct problems. These results suggest that reported associations between early peer problems and later adjustment are noncausal, and appear to reflect underlying continuities in behavioral adjustment.

Peer relationsbehavior problemsconduct disorderpsychosocial disorderslongitudinal study

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999