Links between Perceived Containment and Reactive and Proactive Functions of Aggression among Detained Youth: Does Behavioral Inhibition and/or Activation Matter?

  • Paula J. FiteEmail author
  • Casey A. Pederson
  • Elizabeth C. Tampke
  • Kathleen I. Diaz
  • Moneika DiPierro


Further research is needed to understand factors contributing to reactive and proactive functions of aggression in order to develop more targeted prevention and intervention strategies. Perceived containment, or one’s perception that authority figures have the ability to set limits on their behavior, has been linked to aggression. However, it is not known how perceived containment is linked to these specific functions of aggression. Additionally, it is not clear how behavioral inhibition and behavioral activation motivational systems may impact these links. The current study evaluated these associations in a sample of 134 detained youth (73.1% male; M age = 15.94 years). Regression analyses indicated that perceived containment was more robustly associated with reactive than proactive aggression; however behavioral inhibition moderated associations for both proactive and reactive aggression. At high levels of behavioral inhibition, levels of reactive aggression were consistently high regardless of levels of perceived containment. In contrast, low levels of behavioral inhibition combined with high levels of perceived containment were associated with the lowest levels of reactive aggression. Additionally, low levels of perceived containment combined with high levels of behavioral inhibition were associated with the highest levels of proactive aggression. Implications for findings are discussed.


Proactive/reactive aggression Perceived containment Behavioral inhibition Behavioral activation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

Paula J. Fite, Casey A. Pederson, Elizabeth C. Tampke, Kathleen I. Diaz, and Moneika DiPierro declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human Participants and/or Animals

This research came from a de-identified database and therefore did not directly involve human subjects or animals.

Informed Consent

The investigators’ IRB approved the use of a de-identified database for research purposes. For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula J. Fite
    • 1
    Email author
  • Casey A. Pederson
    • 1
  • Elizabeth C. Tampke
    • 1
  • Kathleen I. Diaz
    • 1
  • Moneika DiPierro
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KansasLawrenceUSA

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