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Aggression in Childhood




Effects of mental retardation and depression diagnoses on ratings of aggressive, self-aggressive, and antisocial behavior
Shannon Haley, Celeste Walley, Michael McCloskey, Lillian Range, and Mitchell Berman
(University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS)
To see whether people recognize a link between mental disorders and aggression, participants rated descriptions of depressed, mentally retarded (MR), or non-disordered individuals on aggressive, antisocial, and self-aggressive behaviors. Depressed and MR individuals were rated higher on these behaviors than non-disordered individuals. Also, depressed individuals were rated as more self-aggressive than MR individuals. Apparently, people tend to believe that mood or MR diagnoses place an individual at greater risk to engage in destructive acts. (back to top)

Association between child maltreatment and disabilities in a population-based study
John F. Knutson (University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA)
Patricia M. Sullivan, (Center for Abused Children with Disabilities, Boys Town)
An archival study was conducted with all children enrolled in a metropolitan school district (N=40,211).  From State Registries and law enforcement records 4,503 maltreated children were identified.  Based on detailed record reviews, it was possible to establish a strong association between maltreatment and educationally-relevant disabilities in this unselected population-based sample.  The study replicated earlier findings and demonstrated that child maltreatment may be importantly related to the development of antisocial behavior. (back to top)

Anger and distress in temper tantrums
Michael Potegal, M. R. Kosorok, and R. J. Davidson
(University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI)
Tantrums of 335 children 18-60 months old were reconstructed from parental narratives as matrices of 13 behaviors scored as present or absent in consecutive 30 sec. time units.  Multi-dimensional scaling and factor analyses converged on anger and distress as two main components.  Physical anger peaks at tantrum onset, then declines.  Anger has 3 levels of intensity.  Stamping at tantrum onset predicts shorter duration.  Distress (whining, consolation-seeking, and crying) increases during the tantrum.  Running away or throwing the self down, oppositely valenced loadings within a single factor, reflect escape or submission. (back to top)

Relationship between retrospective reports of childhood victimization and adult aggressive, self-aggressive, and anti-social behavior
Pamela Posey, Celeste Walley, Michael McCloskey, Mitchell Berman
(University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS)
Emil Coccaro
(Medical College of Pennsylvania, Hahnemann University Medical School, Philadelphia, PA)
This study explored the relationship between retrospective reports of childhood abuse and adult aggressive, self-aggressive, and antisocial behaviors. Partial support for the so-called "intergenerational transmission" hypothesis of aggressive behavior was found. Results support the notion that various forms of childhood abuse may be associated with differential adult outcomes. (back to top)