Exposure to externalizing peers in early childhood: Homophily and peer contagion processes

Laura Hanish, Carol Martin, Richard Fabes, Stacie Leonard, Melissa Herzog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Guided by a transactional model, we examined the predictors and effects of exposure to externalizing peers in a low-risk sample of preschoolers and kindergarteners. On the basis of daily observations of peer interactions, we calculated measures of total exposure to externalizing peers and measures of exposure to same- and other-sex externalizing peers. Analyses of predictors of externalizing peer exposure supported a homophily hypothesis for girls. Tests of peer contagion effects varied by sex, and exposure to externalizing peers predicted multiple problem behaviors for girls but not for boys. Sex differences were a function of children's own sex, but not of peers' sex. The study provides evidence of externalizing peer exposure effects in a low-risk sample of young children, notably for girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-281
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Early childhood
  • Externalizing behavior
  • Peer exposure
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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