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Abstract

We investigated how overtly aggressive behavior was differentially perceived by two types of perceivers, teachers and peers, as a function of student neighborhood, gender, and grade level. Participants (N= 765) were predominantly African American students in grades 3-5 recruited from two urban public schools in southern California. The neighborhoods surrounding the two schools differed in levels of identified violent crime and economic levels. Teachers in the community experiencing more violence perceived student behavior to be relatively less aggressive and more similar across genders than did teachers in the less violent community. Peers in the community experiencing more violent crime perceived both boys and girls to be somewhat aggressive, whereas in the less violent community, boys were perceived as aggressive more so than were girls. In general, agreement between teacher and peer perceptions was stronger for boys than for girls. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.