Date Thesis Awarded

4-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Janice Zeman

Committee Members

Catherine Forestell

Janise Parker

Abstract

Friend socialization of anger may play a role in the development of aggression given the initial findings on peer emotion socialization (Klimes-Dougan et al., 2014), peer influence on aggression (e.g., Dishion & Patterson, 2006), and the role of anger in aggression (e.g., Bookhout, Hubbard, & Moore, 2018). However, little research has examined the potential influence of peer emotion socialization on adolescent aggression (Miller-Slough & Dunsmore, 2016). This study addresses the influence of friend anger socialization in early-adolescent best friend dyads on adolescent aggression concurrently and four years later. Participants were 202 youth participating in 101 best friend dyads (Time 1(T1): Mage = 12.68, 52.5% girls, 73.3% White; Time 2 (T2): N = 169, Mage = 14.70; Time 3 (T3): N = 121, Mage = 16.5). Youth completed measures pertaining to their anger regulation (T1, T2), aggression (T1, T3), and the ways their best friend typically responds to their expressions of anger (T1). Parents also competed measures of their child’s aggression (T1, T3). Six Actor-Partner Interdependence Mediation Models (Kenny, 2015), were conducted with three examining unsupportive socialization and three examining supportive socialization responses. In each set, two models examined concurrent parent- and child-reported aggression separately, and one model examined T3 combined parent- and child-reports of child aggression. The results indicated that being unsupportive of a close friend’s anger is associated with increased concurrent aggression. In the longitudinal model, decreased anger regulation mediated the relation between providing unsupportive anger socialization and increased aggression four years later. Two supportive emotion socialization models indicated that receipt of supportive responses to anger from a close friend was linked to less concurrent aggression. In the child-reported model, increased anger regulation mediated the relation between receiving supportive anger socialization and decreased aggression. When unsupportive, best friendships may escalate maladaptive patterns of anger regulation and aggression that persist through adolescence. When supportive, best friendships provide a constructive environment for adolescents to refine their expression and regulation of anger in adaptive ways that may help protect against concurrent behavior problems. These findings emphasize the importance of emotion socialization in processes of friend influence on externalizing behavior in adolescence.

Available for download on Wednesday, April 28, 2021

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