A Developmental Perspective on Peer Rejection, Deviant Peer Affiliation, and Conduct Problems Among Youth

Chen, D.; Drabick, D. A.; Burgers, D. E.

Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2014 Nov 21; 46(6):823-38

Abstract

Peer rejection and deviant peer affiliation are linked consistently to the development and maintenance of conduct problems. Two proposed models may account for longitudinal relations among these peer processes and conduct problems: the (a) sequential mediation model, in which peer rejection in childhood and deviant peer affiliation in adolescence mediate the link between early externalizing behaviors and more serious adolescent conduct problems; and (b) parallel process model, in which peer rejection and deviant peer affiliation are considered independent processes that operate simultaneously to increment risk for conduct problems. In this review, we evaluate theoretical models and evidence for associations among conduct problems and (a) peer rejection and (b) deviant peer affiliation. We then consider support for the sequential mediation and parallel process models. Next, we propose an integrated model incorporating both the sequential mediation and parallel process models. Future research directions and implications for prevention and intervention efforts are discussed.

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