Is There a Dark Side of Positive Illusions? Overestimation of Social Competence and Subsequent Adjustment in Aggressive and Nonaggressive Children

  title={Is There a Dark Side of Positive Illusions? Overestimation of Social Competence and Subsequent Adjustment in Aggressive and Nonaggressive Children},
  author={Mara R Brendgen and Frank Vitaro and Lyse Turgeon and François Poulin and Brigitte Wanner},
  journal={Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology},
This study examined (a) the links between children's overly positive perceptions about the relations with the peer group and with their best friend to subsequent behavioral, emotional, and social adjustment, and (b) whether these links are moderated by children's aggression. Using a short-term longitudinal design, the study was based on a sample of 819 4th- to 6th-graders (427 girls) from low to average SES families. Results showed that positive illusions about their social relations with… 


In this study, sociometric interviews were conducted to determine children’s actual and perceived social status as well as reputation for aggressive behavior in 4th grade classrooms. From this larger

Discrepancies in Perceptions of Close Relationships of Young Adolescents: A Risk for Psychopathology?

The results may suggest that it is more important for adolescents to develop positive perceptions of close relationships than to agree with partners on the quality of the relationship.

Biased self-perceptions of social competence and engagement in physical and relational aggression: the moderating role of peer status and sex.

There was a significant curvilinear association between social competence bias and physical aggression moderated by both types of peer status and sex and for very highly preferred girls, a more extreme positive bias was associated with an exponential increase in relational aggression.

Discrepant Views of Social Competence and Links with Social Phobia

Adolescents’ biased perceptions about their social competence (SC), whether negatively or positively, serve to influence their socioemotional adjustment such as early feelings of social phobia

Adolescent Loneliness and Social Skills: Agreement and Discrepancies Between Self-, Meta-, and Peer-Evaluations

Results indicated that, when self-, peer- and meta-evaluations were similar, a greater sense of loneliness was related to poorer social skills, which implies that different mechanisms may underlie loneliness, which has implications for interventions.

Biased self-perceived social competence and engagement in subtypes of aggression: Examination of peer rejection, social dominance goals, and sex of the child as moderators.

There was a significant interaction between quadratic bias and peer rejection predicting reactive physical aggression and a positive bias predicted greater proactive physical aggression among girls who highly valued social dominance.

Costs and Benefits of Bullying in the Context of the Peer Group: A Three Wave Longitudinal Analysis

The findings underscore the need for interventions targeting mechanisms that reward bullying, and show that although young bullies may be on a developmental path that in the long run becomes problematic, from the bullies’ perspective in the shorter term personal advantages outweigh disadvantages.

Can Both Low and High Self-Esteem Be Related to Aggression in Children?.

This study examined the opposing hypotheses that either low or exaggerated but disputed self-esteem is related to aggression in 652 12-year-old schoolchildren. Children provided peer nominations of



Assessing Aggressive and Depressed Children's Social Relations with Classmates and Friends: A Matter of Perspective

Depression but not aggression was significantly related to difficulties with the peer group and with dyadic friends from the children's own perspective, whereas the opposite pattern was found according to the peers' view.

Peer Relationships and Their Dysfunction: Considering the Child's Perspective

Although numerous studies have examined the behavioral and social-cognitive characteristics of children experiencing peer difficulties, the importance of children's own thoughts, feelings, and pen

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This research was designed to identify patterns of behavior and emotional response associated with peer rejection in early adolescence. Seventh- and eighth-grade middle-school students (N=450) were

Dimensions and types of social status: A cross-age perspective.

Children's sociometric status was conceptualized in terms of independent dimensions of social preference and social impact. In Experiment 1, peer perceptual correlates of these dimensions were

A longitudinal study of children's depressive symptoms, self-perceptions, and cognitive distortions about the self.

Self-reported depressive symptoms predicted a change in children's negative views of the self and an underestimation of their actual competence, while negative self-perceptions and underestimations about the self were not associated with a subsequent change in depressive symptoms.

Overly positive self-evaluations and personality: negative implications for mental health.

There are negative short-term and long-term consequences for individuals who self-enhance and, contrary to some prior formulations, accurate appraisals of self and of the social environment may be essential elements of mental health.

Are cognitive errors of underestimation predictive or reflective of depressive symptoms in children: a longitudinal study.

Positive self-distortions appear to be more reflective than predictive of depression in children, and depression scores predicted increases in the underestimation of self-competence over time in all grade levels.

A developmental perspective on peer rejection: mechanisms of stability and change.

Results of prospective and retrospective analyses suggested that perceived social status, participation in extracurricular activities, locus of control, and parental monitoring were all positively related to status improvement among initially rejected children.

A comparison of aggressive-rejected and nonaggressive-rejected children's interpretations of self-directed and other-directed rejection.

It is suggested that aggressive-rejected children may make self-protective "errors" when judging other children's negative feelings about them as well as did nonaggressive-rejection and average status children.

Social-information-processing factors in reactive and proactive aggression in children's peer groups.

  • K. DodgeJ. Coie
  • Psychology
    Journal of personality and social psychology
  • 1987
Three studies supported the hypothesis that attributional biases and deficits are related to reactive aggression but not to proactive aggression, which was hypothesized to occur as a function of hostile attributional bias and intention-cue detection deficits.