Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 261–271 | Cite as

The Relation Between Childhood Proactive and Reactive Aggression and Substance Use Initiation

  • Paula J. Fite
  • Craig R. Colder
  • John E. Lochman
  • Karen C. Wells


The current study examined whether proactive and reactive aggression were associated with the risk for initiation of substance use from fourth to ninth grade in a sample of 126 aggressive children (66% male). In addition, the study examined whether these functions of aggression increased risk for initiation via peer delinquency and peer rejection. Proactive aggression was marginally significantly directly associated with risk for initiation of alcohol use and indirectly associated with risk for initiation of marijuana and tobacco use through peer delinquency. Reactive aggression was associated with increased risk for initiation of tobacco and marijuana use through a complex chain that included both peer rejection and peer delinquency. However, high levels of reactive aggression that did not lead to peer rejection were negatively associated with risk for initiation of tobacco and marijuana use. Implications for intervention are discussed.


Proactive and reactive aggression Substance use initiation Peers 



This research was supported by grants from the SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Prevention awarded to the third author (UR6 5907956; KD1 SP08633) and from the National Institute of Drug Abuse awarded to the first author (DA018016). We would like to thank members of the Lochman Research Group as well as the families who participated in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula J. Fite
    • 1
    • 2
  • Craig R. Colder
    • 1
  • John E. Lochman
    • 3
  • Karen C. Wells
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyState University of New York at BuffaloBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  4. 4.Duke University Medical CenterDuhramUSA

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