Variable Effects of Children's Aggression, Social Withdrawal, and Prosocial Leadership as Functions of Teacher Beliefs and Behaviors



Teachers' beliefs about aggressive and withdrawn behaviors in the classrooms and teachers' overall caring and support of students were hypothesized to influence the relations between these classroom behaviors and peer acceptance and self-perceived social competence. These hypotheses were tested in a sample of 82 middle school classes consisting of 4,650 students ages 13 to 16. The results suggest that teachers' aversion to aggression and empathy toward withdrawal enhanced the self-perceptions of both aggressive and withdrawn children and enforced peer rejection of aggression but not of social withdrawal. Teacher warmth had similar effects. Prosocial leadership had a positive social impact among students independent of teacher beliefs. These findings are discussed in an attempt to reconceptualize children's social behaviors and peer status.