Early Socialization and Later Aggression: A Multi-Informant Longitudinal Analysis of Parent and Peer Relationships in Early Childhood and Aggression in Grade School



Mize, Jerry L

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Although the childhood aggression literature is well developed, there is relatively little research examining longitudinal relations between early childhood parenting and peer interaction and later aggressive behavior in children. Relationships with parents affect how future relationships are approached, and receiving sensitivity from and having a secure relationship with one’s parents are related to less child aggression. Additionally, peer relationships contribute to the development of aggression. The current study examines how characteristics of parental quality (maternal sensitivity, conflict, and closeness) and interactions with peers (prosocial, aggression, and positive and negative contributions to play) at 54-months are associated with children’s aggressive behavior, as reported by multiple informants, in 3rd grade through 6th grade (N = 1,364; 52.4% female; 85.4% White). Data came from the SECCYD, and I tested these associations with structural equation modeling using Mplus version 6. Maternal, teacher, and self reports of aggressive behavior in grades 3-6 were examined. In the maternal report model, I report stability in aggression behaviors overtime and that maternal relationships in early childhood are related to general and relational aggression, but generally unrelated to changes in child general and relational aggression across grades 3-6. I also did not find much of a relation between friendships in early childhood and later aggression. Further, only the maternal report yielded significant findings. I conclude that maternal relationships could be predictive of maternal views of their children’s initial aggressive behavior, both relationally and in general, but not predictive of changes in aggression. Overall, these findings suggest that prevention and intervention efforts should be focused prior to third grade.



Aggression, Maternal relationships, Peer relationships, Childhood, Adolescence, Longitudinal