Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 641–656

Reactive Aggression in Boys with Disruptive Behavior Disorders: Behavior, Physiology, and Affect


    • Department of PsychologyDalhousie University
  • William E. PelhamJr.
    • Department of PsychologyState University of New York at Buffalo
  • J. Richard Jennings
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
    • Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
  • Andrew R. Greiner
    • Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
  • Ralph E. Tarter
    • School of PharmacyUniversity of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy
  • Howard B. Moss
    • Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic

DOI: 10.1023/A:1020867831811

Cite this article as:
Waschbusch, D.A., Pelham, W.E., Jennings, J.R. et al. J Abnorm Child Psychol (2002) 30: 641. doi:10.1023/A:1020867831811


This study examined responses to peer provocation in boys ages 9–13 years who met symptomatic criteria for ADHD-only, ODD/CD-only, comorbid ADHD/ODD/CD, or no diagnosis. Boys participated in a reaction-time game that included standardized verbal and behavioral provocation. Their behavioral, physiological, and affective responses to this task were measured. Results showed that groups did not differ following high levels of provocation because all boys behaved aggressively. However, following low provocation boys with comorbid ADHD/ODD/CD had higher levels of behavioral aggression, had greater heart rate acceleration, and were rated as angrier than all other boys. In addition, boys with comorbid ADHD/ODD/CD held a grudge longer than other children. Results suggest that boys with comorbid ADHD/ODD/CD are especially reactive to provocation from their peers.

ADHDODDCDreactive aggressionbehaviorphysiologyaffect

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002