Early Childhood Precursors and Adolescent Sequelae of Grade School Peer Rejection and Victimization

Karen L. Bierman, Carla B. Kalvin, Brenda S. Heinrichs

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27 Scopus citations


This study examined the early childhood precursors and adolescent outcomes associated with grade school peer rejection and victimization among children oversampled for aggressive-disruptive behaviors. A central goal was to better understand the common and unique developmental correlates associated with these two types of peer adversity. There were 754 participants (46% African American, 50% European American, 4% other; 58% male; average age=5.65 at kindergarten entry) followed into seventh grade. Six waves of data were included in structural models focused on three developmental periods. Parents and teachers rated aggressive behavior, emotion dysregulation, and internalizing problems in kindergarten and Grade 1 (Waves 1–2); peer sociometric nominations tracked “least liked” and victimization in Grades 2, 3, and 4 (Waves 3–5); and youth reported on social problems, depressed mood, school adjustment difficulties, and delinquent activities in early adolescence (Grade 7, Wave 6). Structural models revealed that early aggression and emotion dysregulation (but not internalizing behavior) made unique contributions to grade school peer rejection; only emotion dysregulation made unique contributions to grade school victimization. Early internalizing problems and grade school victimization uniquely predicted adolescent social problems and depressed mood. Early aggression and grade school peer rejection uniquely predicted adolescent school adjustment difficulties and delinquent activities. Aggression and emotion dysregulation at school entry increased risk for peer rejection and victimization, and these two types of peer adversity had distinct as well as shared risk and adjustment correlates. Results suggest that the emotional functioning and peer experiences of aggressive-disruptive children deserve further attention in developmental and clinical research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-379
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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