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Pressure Peer And Agressive Behavior Essay

2622 words - 11 pages

Friendships are the closest relationships that children have with individuals of their own age (Berndt) and establishing positive relationships with peers is seen as a vitally important developmental task during childhood (Sroufe and Rutter, 1984). Piaget (1932/1965) argued that close peer relationships were essential for the development of morality and the influence exercised on children by their peers has long been recognised. Bronfenbrenner (1970) argued that peer pressure leads to antisocial behaviour by adolescents, including the expression of aggressive behaviours. Aggression is an important behaviour to consider because it is known to have a negative impact on development. Childhood ...view middle of the document...

It is a common conception that aggressive children are marginalised and rejected by their peers as a result of their lack of social skills, known as the social deficit model. Deater-Deckard hypothesized that aggressive children are likely to be avoided by their peers because they tend to disrupt normal peer interaction. This social isolation limits the aggressive child’s opportunities for socialisation by their peers and deprives the child of chances to develop their social skills. As a result there is no immediate prospect of resolving the problematic social behaviours. There is considerable empirical support for the idea that aggressive children are socially isolated. Aggression is a strong correlate of peer rejection (Coie and Dodge, 1998) and Rubin et al (1998) found that aggressive children are often disliked. Hektner et al (2000) found that not only did aggressive 7- and 8-year olds have fewer reciprocal friends than their nonaggressive peers; they were also more likely to lose friends (i.e. experience peer rejection) during a six week summer camp.
In spite of many findings suggesting that aggressive youth are socially isolated, it has also been shown that nearly 50% of aggressive youth are not rejected by their peers (Coie and Dodge, 1998), casting doubt on the idea that aggressive behaviours are a result of social isolation exacerbating pre-existing aggressive tendencies and maladaptive social behaviours. Indeed, some aggressive youth are socially central (Rodkin et al., 2000; Kaukiainen et al., 1999), seen as popular by teachers and classmates (Farmer et al., 2003; laFontana and Cillessen, 2002) and are successful in friendships (Cairns et al., 1988). Further supporting evidence is provided by Grotpeter and Crick’s (1996) study which found no difference between the friendships of aggressive and nonaggressive children in terms of validation, companionship, guidance and conflict resolution.
Since it is evident that many aggressive children do form friendships, it is important to consider which peers are involved in these relationships WHY. Research shows that children tend to form social groups with others who are similar to them on key social characteristics. The term ‘homophily’ was proposed by Lazarsfeld and Merton (1954) to describe this tendency for similarity among friends. Killeya Jones et al (2007), building on research on homophily in children’s peer groups, hypothesised that children are likely to affiliate with peers who have similar levels of aggressive behaviour to their own and subsequently found that students who affiliated together were indeed more similar to each other in terms of their levels of aggression than they were to peers outside of their friendship group. Other studies support the theory that aggressive youth are friends with others who are aggressive (Bagwell et al, 2000; Cairns et al, 1988; Farmer and Hollowell 1994). It is evident that aggressive children have aggressive friends, but the mechanism...

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