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Child Dev. 1994 Dec;65(6):1799-813.

Children's academic and behavioral adjustment as a function of the chronicity and proximity of peer rejection.

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  • 1Duke University Medical Center, Developmental Epidemiology Program, Durham, NC 27710.


The experience of peer rejection is associated with a number of concurrent and later problems for children. However, we know very little about differences in risk relative to different experiences of rejection over time. This study examined later academic and behavioral problems as a function of two dimensions by which rejection may vary over time: chronicity and temporal proximity. 622 second- through fourth-grade children (ages 7-12) were tested in the spring of 4 consecutive years. The results indicated that both chronicity and proximity directly influenced later adjustment. Taken together, the findings suggest that all levels of rejection were associated with greater absenteeism from school, and more chronic and proximal experiences of rejection were associated with elevated externalizing behavior problems and teacher-rated internalizing behavior problems. There was evidence that initial level of adjustment, gender, and development moderated the relation among these dimensions of rejection and later adjustment.

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