Characteristics of Aggressive‐Rejected, Aggressive (Nonrejected), and Rejected (Nonaggressive) Boys

Karen Linn Bierman, David L. Smoot, Kathy Aumiller

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155 Scopus citations


95 boys at 3 developmental levels (ages 6–8, 8–10, 10–12) were selected on the basis of sociometric and aggression ratings to represent 4 groups: (1) aggressive and rejected, (2) aggressive (not rejected), (3) rejected (not aggressive), or (4) neither aggressive nor rejected. Behavioral observations, teacher ratings, peer ratings, and open‐ended peer interviews were collected to characterize the behaviors of these boys in 3 social domains (conduct problems, sociability/withdrawal, and adaptability/responsivity to peer expectations). Distinct problem profiles emerged. Aggressive‐rejected boys exhibited more diverse and severe conduct problems that did aggressive boys, along with greater deficiencies in the domain of adaptability. Nonaggressive rejected children were considered by teachers and peers to be shy and passive, deficient in prosocial behaviors, atypical, and socially insensitive. Grade‐level decreases in physical aggression and increases in peer‐reported atypical/insensitive behaviors corresponded to developmental differences in group characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-151
Number of pages13
JournalChild development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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