Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 38, Issue 8, pp 1109–1123

Interactive Links Between Theory of Mind, Peer Victimization, and Reactive and Proactive Aggression

Authors

  • Annie Renouf
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Quebec at Montreal
    • Ste-Justine Hospital Research Center
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Quebec at Montreal
    • Ste-Justine Hospital Research Center
  • Jean R. Séguin
    • Ste-Justine Hospital Research Center
    • Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Montreal
  • Frank Vitaro
    • Ste-Justine Hospital Research Center
    • School of PsychoeducationUniversity of Montreal
  • Michel Boivin
    • Ste-Justine Hospital Research Center
    • Department of PsychologyLaval University
  • Ginette Dionne
    • Department of PsychologyLaval University
  • Richard E. Tremblay
    • Ste-Justine Hospital Research Center
    • Departments of Psychology, and PediatricsUniversity of Montreal
    • International Laboratory for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Development, INSERM U669France and University of Montreal
    • School of Public Health and Population ScienceUniversity College Dublin
  • Daniel Pérusse
    • Ste-Justine Hospital Research Center
    • Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Montreal
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10802-010-9432-z

Cite this article as:
Renouf, A., Brendgen, M., Séguin, J.R. et al. J Abnorm Child Psychol (2010) 38: 1109. doi:10.1007/s10802-010-9432-z

Abstract

This study investigated the relation between theory of mind and reactive and proactive aggression, respectively, as well as the moderating role of peer victimization in this context. The 574 participants were drawn from a longitudinal study of twins. Theory of mind was assessed before school entry, when participants were 5 years old. Reactive and proactive aggression as well as peer victimization were assessed a year later in kindergarten. Results from multilevel regression analyses revealed that low theory of mind was related to a high level of reactive aggression, but only in children who experienced average to high levels of peer victimization. In contrast, a high theory of mind was related to a high level of proactive aggression. Again, this relation was especially pronounced in children who experienced high levels of peer victimization. These findings challenge the social skills deficit view of aggression and provide support for a multidimensional perspective of aggressive behavior.

Keywords

Theory of mindReactive and proactive aggressionPeer victimization

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010