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Child Dev. 1990 Oct;61(5):1310-25.

Peers' perceptions of the consequences that victimized children provide aggressors.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton 33431.


Fourth- through seventh-grade children (mean age 11.5 years) estimated the likelihood that various consequences would occur following hypothetical acts of aggression toward victimized and nonvictimized classmates. Children also indicated how much they would care if the consequences were to occur. When contemplating aggression toward victimized classmates, children were more likely to expect tangible rewards, more likely to expect signs of victim suffering, and less likely to expect retaliation than when considering aggression against nonvictimized classmates. Also, when considering aggression toward victimized classmates, children cared more about securing tangible rewards but were less disturbed by the thought of hurting their victims or by the thought of their victims retaliating than when imagining aggression toward nonvictimized classmates. The foregoing pattern was stronger for boys than for girls. Implications for theories of aggression and for intervention with aggressive and victimized children are discussed.

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