Family adversity, positive peer relationships, and children's externalizing behavior: a longitudinal perspective on risk and resilience.
Peer acceptance and friendships were examined as moderators in the link between family adversity and child externalizing behavioral problems. Data on family adversity (i.e., ecological disadvantage, violent marital conflict, and harsh discipline) and child temperament and social information processing were collected during home visits from 585 families with 5-year-old children. Children's peer acceptance, friendship, and friends' aggressiveness were assessed with sociometric methods in kindergarten and grade 1. Teachers provided ratings of children's externalizing behavior problems in grade 2. Peer acceptance served as a moderator for all three measures of family adversity, and friendship served as a moderator for harsh discipline. Examination of regression slopes indicated that family adversity was not significantly associated with child externalizing behavior at high levels of positive peer relationships. These moderating effects generally were not qualified by child gender, ethnicity, or friends' aggressiveness, nor were they accounted for by child temperament or social information-processing patterns. The need for process-oriented studies of risk and protective factors is stressed.
Criss, MM; Pettit, GS; Bates, JE; Dodge, KA; Lapp, AL
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