Aggression in Inner-City Early Elementary Classrooms: Individual and Peer-Group Configurations
Abstract

While recent investigations suggest that subtypes of aggressive youth differentially experience social support for problem behavior, little work has examined if this holds for younger children. This study examined the classroom social structure and social functioning of inner-city African American early elementary school children. Ninety-two (53 boys, 39 girls) 1st graders from two inner-city schools were followed for two years. Configural analysis uncovered considerable heterogeneity in the relationships among overt aggression, popularity, and social network centrality. Two subsets of aggressive students were identified, one marked by high social prominence, the other by low levels of popularity. Peer groups marked by the behavioral similarity of constituent members were identified, and changes in affiliation patterns over time indicated selection criteria.