Social-cognitive and behavioral correlates of aggression and victimization in boys' play groups

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 1998 Dec;26(6):431-40. doi: 10.1023/a:1022695601088.


A contrived play group procedure was utilized to examine the behavioral and social-cognitive correlates of reactive aggression, proactive aggression, and victimization via peers. Eleven play groups, each of which consisted of six familiar African-American 8-year-old boys, met for 45-min sessions on five consecutive days. Social-cognitive interviews were conducted following the second and fourth sessions. Play group interactions were videotaped and examined by trained observers. High rates of proactive aggression were associated with positive outcome expectancies for aggression/assertion, frequent displays of assertive social behavior, and low rates of submissive behavior. Reactive aggression was associated with hostile attributional tendencies and frequent victimization by peers. Victimization was associated with submissive behavior, hostile attributional bias, reactive aggression, and negative outcome expectations for aggression/assertion. These results demonstrate that there is a theoretically coherent and empirically distinct set of correlates associated with each of the examined aggression subtypes, and with victimization by peers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / psychology
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Child
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Dominance-Subordination*
  • Hostility
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Personality Development
  • Play and Playthings*
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Social Behavior*