Development and Psychopathology

Articles

Adjustment of antisocial and nonantisocial rejected adolescents

Doran C. Frencha1 c1, Jody Conrada1 and Tamara M. Turnera1

a1 Department of Counseling Psychology, Lewis and Clark College

Abstract

This study was designed to expand the investigation of peer-rejected subgroup differences to adolescence. A sample of 501 eighth-grade adolescents (age 13–14 years) were assessed. These students and their classmates (1,082 15–16-year-olds) were assessed at 10th grade. Rejected-antisocial and rejected-nonantisocial subgroups were identified at both time periods using peer ratings of social status and antisocial behavior. They were compared with accepted, accepted-antisocial, and accepted-nonantisocial subgroups. Results are consistent with past research indicating significant heterogeneity within the rejected population. Rejected-antisocial adolescents exhibited elevated problem behavior (substance use and deviant peer involvement), depression, and school adjustment difficulties (low attendance, low achievement, and school discipline problems). Rejected-nonantisocial students in contrast exhibited little problem behavior, but were characterized by low physical attractiveness and lower involvement in athletics. Discussions of psychopathological risk associated with peer rejection must account for the heterogeneity and extreme differences between antisocial and nonantisocial-rejected adolescents. Comparison of antisocial and nonantisocial-rejected children with their respective antisocial and nonantisocial-accepted comparison groups revealed few differences. This calls into question the unique contribution of rejection in the development of psychopathology.

Correspondence

c1 Doran C. French, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR 97219.