The effects of peer group rejection on 7- and 9-year-old children's (N= 192) reactive, displaced, and proactive aggression were examined in a group simulation study. Children were assigned membership in a pretend social group for a drawing competition and were then rejected or accepted by their group. Their direct and indirect aggressive intentions towards either the ingroup or outgroup were assessed. Analysis of their aggressive intentions revealed enhanced indirect aggression but less direct aggression. Peer group rejection, in comparison with acceptance, instigated reactive aggression towards the ingroup, and displaced reactive aggression towards the outgroup. Accepted children displayed proactive aggression towards the outgroup but not the ingroup. The implications of the findings for peer group rejection and aggression research are discussed.
©2010 The British Psychological Society.