, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 53-65

Choosing or Being Chosen by Aggressive–Disruptive Peers: Do They Contribute to Children's Externalizing and Internalizing Problems?

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The goal of this study was to investigate the extent to which aggressive–disruptive peers contribute to the development of externalizing and internalizing problems in children, while controlling for children's own behavior. We examined 2 sets of peers: (1) those that the child nominated as friends, and (2) those that nominated the child as a friend. The participants were 236 boys and girls attending 3rd to 5th grade at the beginning of the study, who were followed over a period of 2 years. Results showed that choosing more aggressive peers on the nomination procedure was associated with more externalizing problems and self-reported depressive symptomatology over time. On the other hand, being liked by more aggressive children generally was not associated with elevated externalizing or internalizing problems.