Preschool Peer Perceptions of the Behavior of Hyperactive and Aggressive Children


To assess if preschool children can successfully identify externalizing symptomatic behaviors in their male classmates, and if these perceptions are associated with peer-rated popularity and rejection, 154 preschool boys and girls were interviewed using a peer nomination procedure. Behavioral data on the same preschool boys (N=86) were also provided by their respective teachers. Preschool children were capable of providing stable nominations of popularity, rejection, and aggression, boys and girls significantly agreed in their nominations, and these nominations were not a function of the age of the rated child, although they differed somewhat as a function of the age of the rater. Teachers and peers reflected significant convergence in ratings of hyperactivity and aggression and teacher ratings of peer problems significantly agreed with actual peer nominations of popularity and rejection. Boys nominated as aggressive were more rejected by their classmates, whereas boys nominated as hyperactive were either more popular and /or more rejected. Limited evidence for differential patterns of relationships among hyperactivity, aggression, and peer status was obtained for both the peer and teacher data.

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Dr. Milich was at the University of Iowa when the article was originally published.

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