Declines in peer conflict from preschool through first grade: Influences from early attachment and social information processing

H. Abigail Raikes, Elita A. Virmani, Ross A. Thompson, Holly Hatton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


The transition from preschool to early school years is critical for the growth of social skills. Using data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (for this study N = 942), the purpose of this study was to evaluate the longitudinal influence of attachment security and social information processing skills (social problem-solving and hostile attribution biases) on normative changes in peer conflict over the transition from preschool to first grade. Using latent growth curve modeling (LGM), this study found that children exhibited progressive declines in peer conflict over this period. Security of attachment (assessed via the Attachment Q-Set at 24 months) was related to lower rates of peer conflict in first grade, and steeper declines in peer conflict from 54 to 84 months. Differences in children's social information processing (assessed at 54 months) were marginally related to steeper declines in peer conflict. These findings suggest that the social skills and social expectations associated with early attachment security, together with subsequent advances in social information processing, are related to changes in peer conflict during the transition to school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-82
Number of pages18
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013



  • attachment security
  • peer conflict
  • social information processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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