This study investigated differences in social cognitive processing between two subtypes of aggressive children: those rejected by their peers and those not rejected. Children in Grades 2-4 classified as aggressive-rejected (AR; n = 34), aggressive-nonrejected (AN; n = 55), or nonaggressive-nonrejected (NN; n = 64) on the basis of teacher ratings of aggression were administered the Social Cognitive Assessment Profile (SCAP). Descriptive discriminant analysis (DDA; aggressive vs. nonaggressive) replicated the previous finding that aggressive children have a broad range of social cognitive deficits and distortions and provided additional evidence of the criterion validity of SCAP scores. Three-group DDA (AR, AN, NN) indicated that AN children were more likely than AR children to believe that aggression leads to positive outcomes, and were more confident in their ability to use aggression toward a peer. The pattern of social cognitive differences between AR and AN children was similar to that typically found between proactively and reactively aggressive children. Aggressive children who are not also peer-rejected appear to have a distinct pattern of social cognitive biases that reflect antisocial beliefs likely to support the use of aggression to obtain desired goals. Effective interventions for these children may need to target underlying motivations as well as on-line processing skills.
- Descriptive discriminant analysis
- Peer rejection
- Social cognition
- Social cognitive assessment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology