Relational and Physical Aggression of Preschool-Age Children: Peer Status Linkages Across Informants


relational aggression, physical aggression, preschool children, sociometric status groups


Little is known concerning how subtypes of aggression (relational and physical) might be differentially related to preschool-age children's classification in peer sociometric status groups (popular, average, rejected, neglected, and controversial). Furthermore, associations between aggression and sociometric status might vary according to the assessment tools utilized (e.g., peer report vs. teacher report). In this study, relational and physical aggression as well as sociable behavior of preschool-age children was assessed using peer reports and teacher reports. Peer nominations of acceptance and rejection (like and dislike nominations) were also collected and used to form sociometric status groups. Findings indicate that the behavioral differences between sociometric status group categories, obtained with older samples in previous research, is already evident as early as preschool. Furthermore, relational aggression is associated with controversial sociometric status in this age group (based on peer reports). These findings complement an emerging body of research indicating that the practice of relational aggression may be associated with greater peer status for some children.

Original Publication Citation

Nelson, D.A., Robinson, C.C., & Hart, C.H. (2005). Relational and physical aggression of preschool-age children: Peer status linkages across informants. Early Education and Development, 16,115-140.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Early Education and Development




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor