Social defense: An evolutionary-developmental model of children's strategies for coping with threat in the peer group

Meredith J. Martin*, Patrick T. Davies, Leigha A. MacNeill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Navigating the ubiquitous conflict, competition, and complex group dynamics of the peer group is a pivotal developmental task of childhood. Difficulty negotiating these challenges represents a substantial source of risk for psychopathology. Evolutionary developmental psychology offers a unique perspective with the potential to reorganize the way we think about the role of peer relationships in shaping how children cope with the everyday challenges of establishing a social niche. To address this gap, we utilize the ethological reformulation of the emotional security theory as a guide to developing an evolutionary framework for advancing an understanding of the defense strategies children use to manage antagonistic peer relationships and protect themselves from interpersonal threat (Davies and Sturge-Apple, 2007). In this way, we hope to illustrate the value of an evolutionary developmental lens in generating unique theoretical insight and novel research directions into the role of peer relationships in the development of psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-385
Number of pages22
JournalEvolutionary Psychology
Volume12
Issue numberSPECIALISSUE.2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Development
  • Evolution
  • Peer relationships
  • Security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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