Hypothesized risk and protective factors from three ecological domains -- children's parent and peer relationships and individual characteristics -- were. Perceived parent-child relationships and early adolescents' orientation toward peers. Developmental Psychology, 29(4), doi/ Early Peer Relations and their Impact on Children's Development with peers through informal arrangements between parents or formal child-care provision.
These changing behaviors and capabilities influence both adolescents' risk for exposure and the way they deal with that exposure. Processes describing the association between exposure to violence and outcome Even in pervasively violent communities, both exposure and outcome vary among individuals. Mediating processes Mediating processes have been identified primarily in investigations of the effect of exposure on externalizing problem behavior.
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However, despite some findings supporting mediation, e. Fitzpatrick found that children's talking with their parents about problems, hypothesized to reduce the effect of community violence exposure on fighting, did not mediate between being threatened with a weapon and fighting. Two other studies showed only partial mediation. Guerra, Huesmann, and Spindler found that social cognition e. O'Donnell, Schwab-Stone, and Ruchkin found that normlessness a cognitive indicator of alienation only partially mediated the relationship between violence exposure and both later delinquency and internalizing problems.
Moderating processes Some of the same factors have been heuristically examined as possible moderators of the relationship between exposure and later outcome Fitzpatrick, ; Proctor, For example, Gorman-Smith et al. Unlike the work on mediation, most of the work on moderation has focused on the effects of exposure on internalizing problems. Proctor reviewed numerous studies of both the mediating and moderating role of family factors in the association of exposure and poor child outcomes and found that moderating effects on internalizing problem outcomes predominated.
Hammack, Richards, Luo, Edlynn, and Roy described the moderating role of social and family support on the association between exposure and internalizing problems for inner-city adolescents and found that although support was generally protective, it was sometimes inadequate under conditions of high risk.
Rosario, Salzinger, Feldman, and Ng-Mak described the increasingly complex moderating effects over time of social support and coping on internalizing problems in the face of community violence exposure. Luthar, Cicchetti, and Becker have posited two types of moderation that would appear relevant to the issue of resilience in the face of exposure.
The other is a protective reactive effect, in which presumed protective factors are unable to protect under conditions of high stress. There is evidence for both processes e. Given that inner-city children are exposed to high levels of community violence, the current study, based on an inner-city sample, is particularly well-suited to identifying protective reactive effects in which the functions served by developmentally appropriate protective factors are eroded in the presence of very high levels of exposure, resulting in increased internalizing and externalizing problems.
Models predicting internalizing and externalizing outcomes In the current study, internalizing and externalizing behavior problems are modeled separately because the paths leading from exposure to the two outcomes are based on different theoretical conceptualizations and have different implications for intervention.
The hypothesized risk and protective variables representing each of the three domains in our models were chosen from among those that already have some theoretical and empirical support in the literature. Models predicting internalizing problem outcomes included social and emotional support, indexed by attachment to parents and friends, as variables likely to buffer or protect against poor outcome Armsden, McCauley, Greenberg, Burke, et al.
At this developmental period, relationships to parents and peers undergo a shift in relative strength of attachment which is expected to influence the type of support children depend upon in response to stress. Social learning theory Bandura, provided the theoretical rationale for inclusion of friends' delinquent behavior Thornberry, as a risk factor within the domain of peer relations.
Cognitive processing of violence Guerra et al. Effects of early household dysfunction on vulnerability to poor outcome To fully appreciate the effect of exposure to community violence on outcomes and the potential mediating and moderating roles of risk and protective factors on this relationship, the household context in which children find themselves must be considered, as dysfunctional households may elevate the likelihood of exposure and subsequent poor outcomes.
Consistent with a stress-diathesis model, the present study therefore addressed the issue of whether, given the primacy of family influence on children's development, dysfunction in children's households represented by family violence, guardian symptomatology, and stressful life events at the beginning of middle school confers an additional vulnerability for subsequent exposure and for eventual poor outcome. Because family violence often co-occurs with community violence, it is important to determine the extent to which it adds to community violence exposure and its effect in predicting poor outcome and, if necessary, control for its effects.
McCabe and colleagues found that community violence predicted conduct problems in adolescents even after controlling for exposure to family violence. Summary and hypotheses We tested models predicting internalizing and externalizing behavior problems in the third year of middle school. Each model consisted of household and family dysfunction in the first year, exposure to violence both family and community in the second year, and hypothesized risk and protective factors in the domains of parent relationships, peer relations and individual characteristics occurring concurrently with exposure in the second year.
Our interest is in how the three ecological domains function in the relationship between exposure and outcome.
Early Childhood Peer Relationships
Because children experience the three domains concurrently, a model combining the three domains has clear ecological validity and was tested. We hypothesized that early family dysfunction would increase vulnerability for poor outcome over the course of the following two years; that risk and protective factors in the three domains would contribute independently to poor outcome but would, at best, only partially mediate between exposure to community violence and subsequent internalizing and externalizing problems; and that risk and protective factors in all three domains would moderate the effects of community violence exposure on outcome, particularly internalizing problems.
Moderation was expected to be either protective stabilizing, in which protective factors play a buffering role in the response to exposure, or protective reactive, in which they are less effective under conditions of high than low levels of exposure. Given that we are studying children in inner-city neighborhoods where risk for exposure is very high, a major question is whether, during the transition from pre- or early adolescence to adolescence, the usual protective and risk factors for problem behavior differ in their effect under conditions of low and high exposure.
Finally, we examined the role of gender in our models.
First, its official community violence statistics were among the city's highest NYC Police Department, personal communication,thus maximizing the chances that our sample would experience significant exposure. Second, the middle schools included grades six through eight, facilitating following students over three annual assessments. Third, the district provided a large subject pool with more than sixth graders. Of the nine middle schools in the selected district, six agreed to participate.
There were no differences between participating and non-participating schools in academic performance based on Board of Education standardized test scores. In the participating schools, letters in English and Spanish were sent home with all sixth graders informing parents that we were studying the effects of community violence on sixth graders and that in an initial classroom exercise, students would rate all same-gender classmates on how they behaved with each other.
Parents could indicate that they did not want their children to participate in the classroom exercise. The letter stated that we would contact families by mail and telephone to request their participation in the subsequent individual interview phase of the study. All families except those opting out of the classroom exercise were mailed follow-up letters indicating our interest in interviewing the parent or guardian about child, family, home and neighborhood, and interviewing the child about his or her experiences at school and in the community.
Children whose guardians were reached did not differ significantly from those whose guardians could not be reached in terms of their peer-rated social behavior. Eighty-two percent of the guardians initially agreeing to participate provided informed consent for themselves and their children.
The final sample consisted of sixth graders, boys and girls, ages 11—14 years.
Peer relations: Impact on children's development | Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development
Fifty-three percent of the guardians had received public assistance during the past year. Fifty-two percent had a high school education. No differences were found between the two subsamples for any of the study variables. The reduction in total sample size over three years was mostly due to inability to locate some families who had moved.
Procedure Guardians were almost all seen at home; children were seen privately in school or at home. Children's sessions ranged from about 45 to 90 minutes, with most lasting approximately one class period.
Interviewers used their judgment about whether to split the protocol into two sessions or let the children take a break. For the paper-and-pencil instruments, interviewers read the material to children who seemed not to be responding appropriately.
Implications for Policy-Makers and Service-Providers The evidence just reviewed challenges long-held beliefs about the importance of peers in early development. Whereas once we may have thought that peers began to have an influence on children during the primary school years and adolescence, it now seems possible that very early interactions with peers at home and in child-care settings could set the stage for later problems.
At the same time, these findings suggest that it is possible to act early to prevent later problems. Because peer acceptance is associated with better psychological adjustment and educational achievement, programs that support early competence with peers will have implications for educational and mental-health policy. Problems that have been noted in mainstreamed preschool classrooms may derive from underlying deficits that could be addressed directly.
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