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Santo -

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Journal of Latino/Latin American Studies






This study tests the hypothesis that peer rejection acts as a social regulation mechanism by reinforcing conformity to group norms, particularly those related to direct and indirect aggression. The sample consisted of 682 boys and girls (Mage = 10.21 years) which was divided into three sub-groups: girls in all-girls schools, girls in mixed-sex schools, and boys in mixed-sex schools. Within-sex difference analyses indicated that indirect aggression was more normative than direct aggression for girls; conversely, direct aggression was more normative that indirect aggression for boys. In line with the view that non-normative behaviors are penalized by peers via rejection, direct aggression was more strongly associated with rejection in female groups whereas indirect aggression was more strongly related to rejection in male groups. Specific comparisons of the girls from the all-girl and the mixed–sex schools did not reveal any differences in the normativeness of either type of aggression between these contexts. Consistent with this result, no differences between types of school were found in the extent to which both forms of aggression were associated with rejection in females. This study shows that peer rejection occurs to a higher extent when group members engage in behaviors that are non-normative for their sex group, and that this process does not seem to vary as a function of the availability of a social comparison, as in mixed-sex schools.


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