Using ecological theory and the peer socialization model, the current study identified risk and protective factors associated with internalizing and externalizing symptoms across ecological domains. It was hypothesized that the constellation of risk and protective factors within the peer microsystem would vary by gender: future optimism and negative peer influence were expected to be significant risk/protective factors for males, whereas peer victimization was expected to be significant risk factors among females. Using four waves of data, three-level hierarchical linear models were estimated for males and females. Results revealed that negative peer influence was a particularly salient risk factor for both internalizing and externalizing behaviors among males, although future optimism did not emerge as a significant protective factor. In addition, as hypothesized, peer victimization indicators were significant risk factors for females. Parent–child conflict was also significantly and positively associated with both internalizing and externalizing symptoms for males and females. Implications are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology