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Covert antisocial behavior, peer deviancy training, parenting processes, and sex differences in the development of antisocial behavior during childhood

  • James J. Snyder (a1), Lynn P. Schrepferman (a1), Lisha Bullard (a1), Amber D. McEachern (a2) and Gerald R. Patterson (a3)...


Two longitudinal studies were used to examine the occurrence and consequences of peer deviancy training during childhood and the relative role of early covert antisocial behavior in risk for antisocial behavior in early adolescence. Peer deviancy training was apparent in a sample of at-risk first grade children, and it showed persistence and increased prevalence across the school year. Peer deviancy training, peer rejection, and unskilled parenting made additive contributions to the development of antisocial behavior during kindergarten and first grade and to antisocial behavior in fourth grade. Skilled parenting partially mitigated the association of peer deviancy training with antisocial behavior for boys. The appearance and growth of covert antisocial behavior was a predictor of fourth grade antisocial for boys and girls, more so than aggressive and overt antisocial behavior. Peer deviancy training and early covert antisocial behavior were key pathways to girls' antisocial behavior in fourth grade, and they complemented the roles of peer rejection and overt antisocial behavior for boys. The relationships of parenting and peer processes to trajectories of antisocial behavior were similar for boys and girls; but boys showed higher levels of antisocial behavior, were more involved in peer deviancy training, and were more likely to experience peer rejection.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: James Snyder, Department of Psychology, Box 34, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS 67260-0034; E-mail:


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