This study examined reciprocal relations between adolescents' physical aggression and their perceptions of peers' deviant behaviors and attitudes.
Analyses were conducted on four waves of data from 2,290 adolescents (ages 10-16) from three urban middle schools. Autoregression models revealed reciprocal relations between peer factors (i.e., friends' problem behavior, peer pressure for fighting, friends' support for fighting) and adolescents' reporting of their aggressive behavior. Bidirectional relations were also found between peer pressure for fighting and adolescents' frequency of physical aggression based on teacher ratings. Findings were consistent across sex, grade, and time. Findings suggest that multiple dimensions of peers' behaviors uniquely play a role in the development of adolescents' aggression and have important implications for interventions to reduce problem behaviors. (publisher abstract modified)