Interpersonal Complementarity – Self-rated Behavior by Normal and Antisocial Adolescents with a Liked and Disliked Peer


  • Kerstin Armelius
  • Camilla Hakelind


The principle of complementarity in interpersonal theory and the SASB model (Structural Analysis of Social Behavior) as developed by Benjamin (1974) were used to study how adolescents in a normal group of 60 adolescents and a group of 42 adolescents with severe behavioural problems rated that they usually behaved in relation to a liked and disliked peer. The peer’s behaviour varied in a systematic way on the dimensions of affiliation and dominance. Complementary behavior was defined as the same behaviour from peer and self and anticomplementarity was defined as opposite behaviour from self in relation the peer’s behavior. Consistent over the two groups complementarity and anticomplementarity were influenced by both the peer’s behaviour and type of relationship with the peer. Friendly behaviour from a liked peer evoked much more complementary friendly behaviour compared to a disliked peer who with the same behaviour evoked almost as much anticomplementary hostile behaviour as complementary friendly behaviour. Hostile behaviour from a disliked peer evoked much more complementary hostile behaviour compared to a liked peer with the same kind of behavior. Autonomy granting from a liked peer evoked more complementary autonomous  behaviour compared to a disliked peer. Differences between the two groups were small and only in relation with a disliked peer. The results were discussed in terms of interpersonal theory and the principle of complementarity with focus on kind of relationship.