Peer relationships and social competence during early and middle childhood

Annu Rev Psychol. 1999;50:333-59. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.50.1.333.


This review demarcates major periods of empirical activity and accomplishment (i.e. "generations") in research on children's peer relations and social competence during recent decades and identifies the investigative agendas that were dominant or ascendant during these periods. A sampling of studies that were conducted during the most recent generation of peer relations research is organized and reviewed in relation to two types of research objectives: (a) enduring agendas--aims from past research generations that have continued to serve as an impetus for empirical investigation during the 1990s--and (b) innovative agendas--newly emergent objectives that are predicated on novel conceptual issues or ongoing research controversies and deficiencies. This profile of continuity and change in investigators' research agendas provides a platform for delineating and analyzing recent empirical accomplishments in the field of peer relations research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / etiology
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Depression / psychology
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Personality Development
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Social Facilitation