The goal of this paper is to focus attention on the role of dyadic peer relationships in children’s aggression. The importance of dyadic relationships in antisocial developmented is highlighted. Data are presented from a recent observational study of relationship formation in boys’ peer groups. Boys met in groups of 6 for 5 consecutive days. Of the 5,263 aggressive behaviors observed in 387 dyads, a high proportion (50%) occurred in just 20% of dyads. Dyads were classified into 5 types: (1) mutually aggressive; (2) asymmetric; (3) low-conflict; (4) unstable, and (5) low-interaction. Angry reactive aggressive behavior was most likely to occur in high-conflict dyads, and proactive bullying behavior in asymmetric dyads. Analyses of within-dyad liking revealed that mutually aggressive dyads liked each other the least. Finally, boys who were socially rejected in their classrooms were more likely to develop mutually aggressive dyadic relationships than were average status boys. These data indicate the importance of considering the dyad as the unit of analysis in the study of boys’ aggression.

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