John Van Seters Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, and Author of Popular: Finding Happiness and Success in a World That Cares Too Much About the Wrong Kinds of Relationships UNC Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Hi, we're talking about the transactional model to understand why it is that
popularity plays such a big role in predicting outcomes later on.
And for now, we're looking at externalizing outcomes and
we've been talking about the way that maybe social behavior and
peer status really play a role in forming one another in a cyclical fashion over
the course of development.
And there's something about that interaction that really might be important
for understanding externalizing symptoms, like delinquency and
oppositional behavior and conduct disorder.
So this makes us have to think a little bit about some of the work that's been
done to understand what types of social behaviors characterized rejected kids.
And you might recall,
we talked earlier about some work that was first done by Toon Cillessen.
And he determined that rejected kids come in a few different shapes and sizes,
what his work really suggested was that there are some kids who are rejected and
that seems to be really characterized by them also being aggressive.
So aggressive behavior might be why they were rejected and
there's another group that's rejected and withdrawn and
then there's another group that's rejected-other.
And by that, these are kids that engage in peculiar or odd behavior.
Sometimes, this really has to do with a context that they're in.
So a behavior that might not be considered peculiar or odd in one setting,
might be odd in a different setting.
So its a little bit of a catch, all miscellaneous category.
But we're going to talk specifically about the rejected-aggressive kids,
because they, of course, seem to be the ones most likely to
experience externalizing symptoms later on.
But what's important is that, it's not just being aggressive that's important for
these externalizing symptoms,
it's something about being both aggressive and rejected on top of that.
So John Coie and his colleagues did a study, also back in the early 90s, but
one of the first ones to really start demonstrating how important this idea of
social behavior and rejection interacting with each other might be for
predicting externalizing symptoms.
What he did was, he looked at kids' data when they were in the third grade,
he had information about, which kids were aggressive based on peer nominations.
So those kids that got a lot of nominations from their peers,
as starting fights with others and getting mad and angry easily.
He categorized those kids as high and low, aggressive or not.
And then of course, he also would add sociometric status categories and
looked at the rejected kids versus all of those other categories combined,
which are just called not rejected.
And he wanted to know from these kids' aggression and rejection in third grade,
what was their externalizing diagnosis likelihood many years later?
What he found was a comparison, we can say that those kids who are neither
aggressive, nor rejected about 18% of them had experienced some diagnosis.
Now I should mention, this was a pretty high risk sample.
Actually, in North Carolina and a group that had already a much higher rate of
externalizing diagnosis than we would see in the general population.
So 18%'s a little bit high, but we can think about it here as our baseline.
If you're neither aggressive nor, rejected in this particular community,
18% likelihood of having this diagnosis years later.
The kids who were rejected, but
not aggressive about a third of them have this diagnosis.
The kids who were aggressive, but
not rejected about 40% of them had this diagnosis.
But clearly, the big concern was when you
had the combination of being both aggressive and rejected.
So in this case, you can see that about two-third of the kids,
years later had a diagnosis for externalizing disorder.
That's a remarkably high amount and it really, clearly demonstrates,
there's something about the combination of rejection
with aggression that's more important than either one of those alone.
So a lot of the research has really been looking at externalizing symptoms in boys,
but, at least here in the United States, there's been growing concern about
the number of externalizing symptoms among girls.
So it seems that within about a ten year period towards the end of last millennium,
we saw that the rate of externalizing symptoms in girls has increased
quite dramatically, we've seen a huge increase in delinquent crimes.
Specifically, among girls at a pace,
much higher than the increase in those same crimes among boys.
We've seen actually, assaults and person directed aggression
increasing 155% among girls, which again is much higher than among boys.
And we've also seen huge increases in other kinds of crimes among
girls in particular, especially when it comes to weapon carrying or
getting into physical fights.
So because of that, some of the research that I did, actually back when I was
a graduate student with my Adviser Annette La Greca and
was to try and understand whether some of the results that people have found for
boys might also apply to girls.
And what my adviser had were some data for girls in grades four through six.
So these would be kids who are about 12 years old down to about 8,
9 years old or so.
And data were then available for them six years later when they towards
the end of adolescence in their former schooling.
And what we actually found was that the girls that were aggressive or
more likely to show severe adolescent aggression six years later, but
the results were actually very clear that it was the combination of aggression and
So here peer rejection was changing the nature of the relationship between
childhood and adolescent aggression.
That combo was a very powerful predictor of adolescent aggression.
And interestingly, the effects were just as strong for girls as we've seen for
boys in many prior studies.
So next, what we'll talk about is what exactly is happening with these rejected
aggressive kids that may be playing a role in their externalizing outcomes so