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Gender Differences in Developmental Links Among Antisocial Behavior, Friends' Antisocial Behavior, and Peer Rejection in Childhood: Results From Two Cultures


  • The Dutch study was supported by grants from the Sophia Foundation for Medical Research and the Ministry of Justice, the Netherlands. The Quebec study was supported by grants from the Conseil Québécois de la Recherche Sociale and the Canada Social Sciences Research Council. We thank Ted Barker for his helpful comments and suggestions.

concerning this article should be addressed to Pol van Lier, Department of Developmental Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic mail may be sent to


This study addressed gender differences in the developmental links among antisocial behavior, friends' antisocial behavior, and peer rejection. High and increasing, moderate, and low antisocial developmental trajectories were identified among 289 Dutch children, ages 7 to 10, and 445 French-Canadian children, ages 9 to 12. Only boys followed the high trajectory. These boys had more deviant friends and were more often rejected than other children. A minority of girls followed the moderate antisocial behavior trajectory. These girls had fewer deviant friends than moderate antisocial boys, but moderate antisocial boys and girls were equally likely to be rejected. The influence of friends and poor peer relations plays a crucial but different role in the development of antisocial behavior among boys and girls.