Child and Youth Care Forum

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 89–109

Trends in the Occurrence of Reactive and Proactive Aggression Among Children and Adolescents: Implications for Preparation and Practice in Child and Youth Care

  • Charles R. McAdamsIII

DOI: 10.1023/A:1015370518527

Cite this article as:
McAdams, C.R. Child & Youth Care Forum (2002) 31: 89. doi:10.1023/A:1015370518527


Research has identified two distinct subtypes of youth aggression—reactive aggression and proactive aggression. Although reactive and proactive aggression require different prevention and intervention methods, most approaches to youth aggression have been applied without consideration of specific subtype. This study examined the prevalence of the two subtypes of aggression, the impact of demographic variables on their prevalence, and emergent trends over time in the nature and frequency of their occurrence. It also examined the extent to which reactive and proactive aggression were topics addressed in professional education and training. Results indicate a significant trend toward increasing proactive aggression among children and adolescents, a trend for which most youth service providers are reportedly ill-prepared. Implications of the findings and recommendations for youth service preparation and practice are discussed.

reactive aggressionproactive aggressionviolence prevention and intervention

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles R. McAdamsIII
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Education, The College of William & MaryWilliamsburg