Peer contextual influences on the growth of authority-acceptance problems in early elementary school
This study investigated the effects of the peer social context and child characteristics on the growth of authority-acceptance behavior problems across first, second, and third grades, using data from the normative sample of the Fast Track Project. Three hundred sixty-eight European American and African American boys and girls (51% male; 46% African American) and their classmates were assessed in each grade by teacher ratings on the the Teacher Observation of Child Adaptation-Revised. Children's growth in authority-acceptance behavior problems across time was partially attributable to the level of disruptive behavior in the classroom peer context into which they were placed. Peer-context influences, however, were strongest among some-gender peers. Findings held for both boys and girls, both European Americans and African Americans, and nondeviant, marginally deviant, and highly deviant children. Findings suggest that children learn and follow behavioral norms from their same-gender peers within the classroom.