Pressure Peer and Agressive Behavior

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Friendships are the closest relationships that children have with individuals of their own age (Berndt) and establishing positive relationships with peers is seen as a vitally important developmental task during childhood (Sroufe and Rutter, 1984). Piaget (1932/1965) argued that close peer relationships were essential for the development of morality and the influence exercised on children by their peers has long been recognised. Bronfenbrenner (1970) argued that peer pressure leads to antisocial behaviour by adolescents, including the expression of aggressive behaviours. Aggression is an important behaviour to consider because it is known to have a negative impact on development. Childhood aggression reliably predicts aggressive behaviour in adolescence (Cairns et al, 1989) and has emerged as the strongest risk factor for delinquency, crime and substance abuse during adolescence and adulthood (Patterson et al, 1991). If research can shed light on the causes and moderators of childhood aggression it may be possible to develop effective interventions that reduce the aggressive child’s risk of falling into long term antisocial behaviour. While research on the link between peer relationships and aggressive behaviour among children has often been inconsistent, even contradictory, it has emerged that where aggressive children form friendships, the friendships are likely to be forged with those children who also display aggressive behaviour. However, the precise nature of the relationship between friendship and aggression remains unclear. It is possible that aggressive children actively seek out aggressive peers and that the friendship develops as a result of the similar levels of aggression. It is also possible that children learn aggre...

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