, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 609-621

Associations Between Effortful Control, Psychological Control and Proactive and Reactive Aggression

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The current study examined relations between effortful control (ones ability to focus and shift attention in an adaptive manner), psychological control (caregiver attempts to manipulate the child’s internal world) and proactive and reactive aggression. Participants were 69 children (54% male) ranging from 9 to 12 years of age (M = 10.35, SD = 1.14) and their primary caregivers from a community-recruited sample. Results indicate that psychological control and effortful control interacted and contributed to proactive aggression. At high levels of effortful control psychological control was positively associated with proactive aggression, whereas at low levels of effortful control psychological control was unrelated to proactive aggression. In contrast, although both effortful control and psychological control were correlated with reactive aggression, only effortful control was uniquely negatively associated with reactive aggression. Implications for prevention and intervention are discussed.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10578-011-0262-1