Childhood peer rejection and aggression as predictors of adolescent girls' externalizing and health risk behaviors: a 6-year longitudinal study

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2004 Feb;72(1):103-12. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.72.1.103.


This 6-year longitudinal study examined girls' peer-nominated social preference and aggression in childhood as predictors of self- and parent-reported externalizing symptoms, substance use (i.e. cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana use), and sexual risk behavior in adolescence. Participants were 148 girls from diverse ethnic backgrounds, who were initially assessed in Grades 4-6 and again in Grades 10-12. Results supported a moderator model, indicating that social preference changed the nature of the association between childhood aggression and adolescent outcomes. When accompanied by peer rejection, aggressive behavior was moderately stable over time and significantly associated with adolescent girls' substance use and sexual risk behavior. However, under conditions of peer acceptance, no significant association between childhood aggression and adolescent outcomes emerged.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Peer Group*
  • Rejection, Psychology*
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Urban Population