Externalizing problems in two-year-olds: Implications for patterns of social behavior and peers’ responses to aggression.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Susan D. Calkins, Professor (Creator)
Amanda P. Williford, Post-Doctoral Fellow (Contributor)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: A sample of 48 two-year-old children selected on the basis of parents' responses to two administrations of the Child Behavior Checklist for two to three-year-olds was observed in peer interactions. Twenty-four of these children displayed symptoms of aggressive/destructive (externalizing) problems that were in the borderline clinical range (labelled "high risk") and 24 children displayed few such symptoms ("low risk"). The children were observed in matched dyads (one high risk and one low risk child) across four tasks designed to vary in the degree of social participation they would elicit from the children. Across all tasks, children in the high risk group displayed significantly and consistently more aggressive behavior than the children in the low risk group. However, these high risk children did not differ from other children in terms of several indices of social and nonsocial play. In addition, when children were classified as high aggressive versus average versus low aggressive on the basis of laboratory behavior, children who displayed high amounts of aggression during the play sessions did not differ from less aggressive children on these indices of social play. Finally, the responses of non-aggressive dyad partners to aggressive acts indicated that children are responsive, in relatively subtle ways, to aggression. These results are discussed in terms of the implications of early problematic behavior for later indices of maladjustment that include social competence and peer rejection.

Additional Information

Early Education and Development, 10, 266-288
Language: English
Date: 1999
Aggressive/destructive (externalizing) problems, Child Behavior Checklist, Peer interactions

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