Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 47, Issue 5, pp 839–850 | Cite as

Dyadic Peer Interactions: the Impact of Aggression on Impression Formation with New Peers

  • Naomi C. Z. AndrewsEmail author
  • Laura D. Hanish
  • Kimberly A. Updegraff
  • Dawn DeLay
  • Carol Lynn Martin


Little is known about youth’s initial interactions with previously unfamiliar peers and how aggression can affect behavior in these interactions. We observed previously unfamiliar youth engaging in a dyadic activity to determine how tendencies toward aggression related to behavior within the activity (i.e., collaboration) and how collaboration affected initial impression formation. From a dyadic perspective, we assessed how similarities versus differences in tendencies toward aggression affected the nature of the interaction. Participants were 108 5th grade dyads (M = 11.13 years; 50% female; 67% White), observed in a laboratory session. Teachers rated individuals’ aggression; ratings were used to calculate dyadic-level aggression (the discrepancy between partners). Observers rated dyads’ collaboration during the interaction and participants reported perceptions about their partner after the interaction. Results indicated that collaboration mediated the link between discrepancy in aggression and peers’ perceptions of one another. Specifically, dyads more discrepant in their aggression collaborated less and had less positive perceptions of one another. Results highlight the importance of considering a dyadic perspective and indicate a potential intervention point to improve youth’s peer relationships.


Aggression Collaboration Impression formation Dyad 



The research was supported by in part by funds from the T. Denny Sanford Foundation and by the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics. Additional support was provided for Naomi Andrews from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This article is based on a dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for Naomi Andrews’ doctoral degree at Arizona State University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study received ethics approval from the Arizona State University Institutional Review Board. All aspects of this study were conducted according to the ethical guidelines of the American Psychological Association.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participating teachers, as well as from children’s parents/guardians. Assent was also obtained from all children.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Early Intervention DepartmentMothercraftTorontoCanada
  2. 2.LaMarsh Centre for Child and Youth ResearchYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  3. 3.T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family DynamicsArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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