Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




General Psychology

Committee Chair

Robert Cohen

Committee Member

Gilbert Parra

Committee Member

Roger Kreuz


Do children’s attributions of their friends’ aggressive behaviors matter? In short, yes, children’s attributions of their mutual friends’ aggressive behaviors do matter in terms of children’s reports of loneliness. The goal of the present research was to examine how children’s perceptions of their mutual friends’ aggressive behaviors related to loneliness after controlling for peer group factors (i.e. peer liking, peer popularity, number of mutual friends, and the child’s own level of aggression) known to contribute to loneliness. Self-report measures of loneliness, friendship nominations, and classroom nominations for liking, popularity, and aggression were collected from 185 third through sixth grade children. Preliminary analyses revealed that children do in fact attribute aggressive behaviors to their mutual friends. Both boys (n = 89) and girls (n = 96) were equally likely to ascribe relationally aggressive behaviors to their mutual friends. However, differential patterns emerged with respect to overt aggression. Boys were more likely than girls to ascribe overtly aggressive behaviors to their mutual friends. Moreover, boys were more likely to attribute overtly aggressive behaviors to their mutual friends than relationally aggressive behaviors.Attributions of relationally aggressive behavior were related to an increase in loneliness, even after controlling for other peer factors related to loneliness. However, attributions of overtly aggressive behavior were unrelated to children’s reports of loneliness. Moreover, gender did not moderate the relation between attributions of overt or relational aggression and loneliness. In sum, attributions of friends’ aggression are related to children’s reports of loneliness but differentially with respect to type of aggression.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.