An experimental investigation of peer influences on adolescent hostile attributions

Kim Freeman, Julie A. Hadwin, Sarah L. Halligan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aggression in young people has been associated with a bias toward attributing hostile intent to others. However, little is known about the origin of biased social information processing. The current study explored the potential role of peer contagion in the emergence of hostile attribution in adolescents. One hundred thirty-four adolescents (M age = 13.8 years) were assigned to one of two manipulated "chat-room" conditions, where they believed they were communicating with online peers (e-confederates) who endorsed either hostile or benign intent attributions. Adolescents showed increased hostile attributions following exposure to hostile e-confederates and reduced hostility in the benign condition. Further analyses demonstrated that social anxiety was associated with a reduced tendency to take on hostile peer attitudes. Neither gender nor levels of aggression influenced individual susceptibility to peer influence, but aggressive adolescents reported greater affinity with hostile e-confederates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)897-903
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology
Volume40
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011

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