The Science of Relational Aggression

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A preventive intervention research cycle is often necessary when attempt-ing to moderate a complex problem such as aggression (Heller, 1996; Poulin, Dishion, & Burraston, 2001). The first step in this cycle includes defining the problem, developing measures for accurate assessment, and documenting prevalence. Ideally, these studies are at first moderate in size, but later include epidemiological studies with large, population-based samples. This step also examines subpopulations to identify those with the highest rates of the behavior. The second step should include attempt-ing research to determine who is most likely to engage in high levels of the behavior during which period(s) of life, who is at risk of attempt-ing or escalating the behavior, and how detrimental effects of the problem behavior vary by age.