Friendships and violent behavior during adolescence

Thomas J. Dishion, J. Mark Eddy, Eric Haas, Fuzhong Li, Kathleen Spracklen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations


This study investigated the extent to which interpersonal processes within male friendships are associated with violent behavior patterns during adolescence. At ages 13-14, 15-16, and 17-18, we observed the participants (206 boys) in our laboratory discussing problem solving situations with a close friend. Although the boys typically brought in different friends for each of the three assessments, we found considerable continuity in the boys' behaviors, most notably in the topics discussed. In particular, the tendency of a dyad to engage in deviant and violent talk was uniquely associated with violence in adolescence, controlling for childhood antisocial behavior and coercive discipline practices in the home. These findings suggest that adolescent violence is embedded within enduring social interactional patterns of friendships, where the faces change but the process remains the same.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-223
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescence
  • Antisocial
  • Parenting
  • Peer interaction
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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