Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 1–22 | Cite as

Developmental patterns of aggressive and withdrawn behavior in childhood: A possible method for identifying preschizophrenics

  • Jane E. Ledingham


The generality of results from high-risk studies of the children of schizophrenics may be limited. Studies of preschizophrenics suggest that an alternative approach to the identification of populations at risk involves the selection of children high on aggression and withdrawal. Aggressive children, withdrawn children, aggressive-withdrawn children, and nondeviant controls were identified by peer ratings of 4,110 children in grades 1, 4, and 7. The probability of identifying aggressive-withdrawn subjects decreased as grade level increased, while the probability of identifying aggressive subjects and withdrawn subjects increased with age. Peerrated likability of the aggressive-withdrawn group decreased systematically as grade level increased, in contrast to likability scores for other groups. Teachers rated the aggressive-withdrawn group as more deviant on scales of external reliance, inattention-withdrawal, unable to change tasks easily, and slow to complete work. Mothers described this group as more deviant on scales of distractibility, pathological use of senses, and need for adult contact. These results suggest that, especially at older ages, children who are both aggressive and withdrawn represent a less mature, less socially skilled group that is potentially at risk for poor adjustment later in life.


Grade Level Developmental Pattern Likability Score Skilled Group Aggressive Child 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane E. Ledingham
    • 1
  1. 1.Concordia UniversityUSA

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