The first paper, “Reciprocal Relations between Intra-Year Changes in Peer Victimization and Problem Behavior During Middle School” uses data from a large sample of adolescents attending three middle schools to examine associations between peer victimization and delinquency, aggression, and drug use within a single school year. Major strengths of this paper include the examination of bi-directional associations between peer victimization and other problem behaviors and a focus on how time of year, grade, and gender influence these relations.
The second paper, “Patterns of aggression, victimization, and prosocial behavior in elementary school as predictors of academic outcomes” uses data from a sample of early adolescents attending six elementary schools to examine heterogeneity in behavior patterns, and whether these patterns are differentially associated with performance on standardized achievement tests and suspensions/expulsions in the following school year. Major strengths of this study are the inclusion of both prosocial and problem behaviors in the same latent class analysis to identify distinct behavior patterns, and the examination of longitudinal associations between behavior patterns and academic outcomes as prior research has primarily focused on patterns of aggression and victimization and cross-sectional associations with school outcomes.
The third paper, “Classes of Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Adolescence: Prediction to Later Conduct Disorder” uses data from a community-based sample of adolescents attending four middle schools to examine heterogeneity in symptom patterns of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and relations to subsequent conduct problems. Major strengths of this study include use of data on ODD symptomatology from multiple informants (parents and children), examination of variation in ODD symptom patterns across middle school, and identification of a particularly problematic subgroup of youth with both mood and behavioral symptoms of ODD who are at greatest risk for later conduct disorder.
Finally, a discussant will highlight commonalities among the papers, discuss implications for prevention, and moderate a discussion between the presenters and the audience.