Observations of aggressive and nonaggressive children on the school playground

Debra J. Pepler, Wendy M. Craig, William L. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Naturalistic observations were made of 17 aggressive and 22 nonaggressive children in Grades 1 to 6, filmed with video cameras and remote microphones on school playgrounds. Observers coded interactive behaviors, affective valence, and play states. Aggressive children displayed more verbal and physical aggression, more prosocial behaviors, and higher rates of interaction than did nonaggressive children. The two groups spent similar time in solitary and group activities. Sequential analyses indicated that peers made similar initiations to aggressive and nonaggressive children, but aggressive children were more likely to respond antisocially. Aggressive children initiated more mixed behaviors (prosocial and antisocial) than did nonaggressive children. Implications of these observations for understanding peer interactions of aggressive children are discussed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-76
Number of pages22
JournalMerrill-Palmer Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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