Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 357–367 | Cite as

Rough-and-Tumble Play and the Development of Physical Aggression and Emotion Regulation: A Five-Year Follow-Up Study

  • Joseph L. Flanders
  • Melissa Simard
  • Daniel Paquette
  • Sophie Parent
  • Frank Vitaro
  • Robert O. Pihl
  • Jean R. Séguin
Original Article

Abstract

This is a follow-up to a study demonstrating that rough-and-tumble play was related to physical aggression in the preschool years. Fathers reported on the frequency of father-child rough-and-tumble play interactions, and the degree to which fathers were dominant in the play dyad was observed and coded from play interactions. In this follow-up study, school-aged children’s physically aggressive behaviors and emotion regulation abilities were assessed with questionnaires 5 years later. Higher frequencies of father-child rough-and-tumble play in the preschool years were associated with more physical aggression and worse emotion regulation 5 years later for children whose fathers were less dominant, over and above the effects of physical aggression in the preschool years. Rough-and-tumble play was unrelated to these measures among children whose fathers were more dominant during play. This study shows that early rough-and-tumble play continues to be related to children’s psychosocial adjustment over time, and that the effect remains moderated by the quality of the father-child relationship during play.

Keywords

Rough-and-tumble play Aggression Emotion regulation Dominance Father Development 

References

  1. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Alink, L. R. A., Mesman, J., van Zeijl, J., Stolk, M. N., Juffer, F., Koot, H. M., et al. (2006). The early childhood aggression curve: development of physical aggression in 10-to 50-month-old children. Child Development, 77, 954–966.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Washington: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  4. Barth, J. M., & Parke, R. D. (1993). Parent-child relationship influences on children’s transition to school. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly-Journal of Developmental Psychology, 39, 173–195.Google Scholar
  5. Beauchaine, T. P., Gatzke-Kopp, L., & Mead, H. K. (2007). Polyvagal theory and developmental psychopathology: emotion dysregulation and conduct problems from preschool to adolescence. Biological Psychology, 74, 174–184.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bongers, I. L., Koot, H. M., van der Ende, J., & Verhulst, F. C. (2004). Developmental trajectories of externalizing behaviors in childhood and adolescence. Child Development, 75, 1523–1537.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Broidy, L., Nagin, D. S., Tremblay, R. E., Bates, J. E., Brame, R., & Dodge, K. A. (2003). Developmental trajectories of childhood disruptive behaviors and adolescent delinquency: a six site, cross-national study. Developmental Psychology, 39, 222–245.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Burgdorf, J., Panksepp, J., Beinfeld, M. C., Kroes, R. A., & Moskal, J. R. (2006). Regional brain cholecystokinin changes as a function of rough-and-tumble play behavior in adolescent rats. Peptides, 27, 172–177.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Carson, J. L. & Parke, R. D. (1996). Reciprocal negative affect in parent-child interactions and children’s peer competency. Child Development, 67, 2217–2226.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Carson, J., Burks, V., & Parke, R. D. (1993). Parent-child physical play: Determinants and consequences. In K. MacDonald (Ed.), Children’s play in society (pp. 197–220). Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  11. Coie, J. D., Cillesen, A. H. N., Dodge, K. A., Hubbard, J. A., Schwartz, D., Lemerise, E. A., et al. (1999). It takes two to fight: a test of relational factors and a method for assessing aggressive dyads. Developmental Psychology, 35, 1179–1188.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Cole, P. M., Michel, M. K., & Teti, L. O. (1994). The development of emotion regulation and dysregulation: a clinical perspective. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 59, 250–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Corr, P. J., Pickering, A. D., & Gray, J. A. (1995). Personality and reinforcement in associative and instrumental learning. Personality and Individual Differences, 19, 47–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Côté, S., Vaillancourt, T., LeBlanc, J., Nagin, D., & Tremblay, R. E. (2006). The development of physical aggression from toddlerhood to pre-adolescence: a nation wide longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.Google Scholar
  15. Côté, S., Boivin, M., Nagin, D. S., Japel, C., Xu, Q., Zoccolillo, M., et al. (2007). The role of maternal education and nonmaternal care services in the prevention of children’s physical aggression problems. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64, 1305–1312.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Crawley, S. B., & Sherrod, K. B. (1984). Parent-infant play during the first year of life. Infant Behavior and Development, 7, 65–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Derryberry, D., & Rothbart, M. K. (1997). Reactive and effortful processes in the organization of temperament. Development and Psychopathology, 9, 633–652.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Dodge, K. A., Lansford, J. E., Burks, V. S., Bates, J. E., Pettit, G. S., Fontaine, R., et al. (2003). Peer rejection and social information-processing factors in the development of aggressive behavior problems in children. Child Development, 74, 374–393.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Einon, D. F., & Morgan, M. J. (1977). A critical period for social isolation. Developmental Psychobiology, 11, 213–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Flanders, J. L., Leo, V., Paquette, D., Pihl, R. O., & Séguin, J. R. (2009). Rough-and-tumble play and the regulation of aggression: an observational study of father-child play dyads. Aggressive Behavior.Google Scholar
  21. Frick, P. J. (2001). Effective interventions for children and adolescents with conduct disorder. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry-Revue Canadienne de Psychiatrie, 46, 597–608.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Gordon, N. S., Burke, S., Akil, H., Watson, S. J., & Panksepp, J. (2003). Socially-induced brain ‘fertilization’: play promotes brain derived neurotrophic factor transcription in the amygdala and dorsolateral frontal cortex in juvenile rats. Neuroscience Letters, 341, 17–20.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Grolnick, W. S., McMenamy, J. M., & Kurowski, C. O. (2006). Emotional self-regulation in infancy and toddlerhood. In L. Balter & C. Tamis-LeMonda (Eds.), Child psychology: A handbook of contemporary issues (2nd ed., pp. 3–25). New York: Psychology.Google Scholar
  24. Hawley, P. H. (1999). The ontogenesis of social dominance: a strategy-based evolutionary perspective. Developmental Review, 19, 97–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Holmbeck, G. N. (2002). Post-hoc probing of significant moderational and mediational effects in studies of pediatric populations. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 27, 87–96.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Huijbregts, S. C. J., Séguin, J. R., Zoccolillo, M., Boivin, M., & Tremblay, R. E. (2007). Associations of maternal prenatal smoking with early childhood physical aggression, hyperactivity-impulsivity, and their co-occurrence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 35, 203–215.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Kerns, K., & Barth, J. M. (1995). Attachment and play—convergence across components of parent-child relationships and their relations to peer competence. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 12, 243–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kochanska, G., Murray, K. T., & Harlan, E. T. (2000). Effortful control in early childhood: continuity and change, antecedents, and implications for social development. Developmental Psychology, 36, 220–232.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Lindsey, E. W., & Mize, J. (2000). Parent-child physical and pretense play: links to children’s social competence. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly-Journal of Developmental Psychology, 46, 565–591.Google Scholar
  30. Lindsey, E. W., Mize, J., & Pettit, G. S. (1997). Mutuality in parent-child play: consequences for children’s peer competence. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 14, 523–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Loeber, R., & Hay, D. (1997). Key issues in the development of aggression and violence from childhood to early adulthood. Annual Review of Psychology, 48, 371–410.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Loeber, R., & Pardini, D. (2008). Neurobiology and the development of violence: common assumptions and controversies. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of Biological Sciences, 363, 2491–2503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. MacDonald, K. (1993). Parent-child play: Descriptions and implications. Albany.Google Scholar
  34. MacDonald, K., & Parke, R. D. (1984). Bridging the gap—Parent-child play interaction and peer interactive competence. Child Development, 55, 1265–1277.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. MacDonald, K., & Parke, R. D. (1986). Parent-child physical play—the effects of sex and age of children and parents. Sex Roles, 15, 367–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., Dickson, N., Silva, P., & Stanton, W. (1996). Childhood-onset versus adolescent-onset antisocial conduct problems in males: natural history from ages 3 to 18 years. Development and Psychopathology, 8, 399–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (2004). Trajectories of physical aggression from toddlerhood to middle childhood: predictors, correlates, and outcomes. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 69(4), vii–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Noldus, L., Trienes, R., Hendrikson, A., Jansen, H., & Jansen, R. (2000). The Observer Video-Pro: new software for the collection, management, and presentation of time-structured data from videotapes and digital media. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments & Computers, 32, 197–206.Google Scholar
  39. Panksepp, J. (1993). Rough and tumble play: A fundamental brain process. In K. MacDonald (Ed.), Parent-child play: Descriptions and implications (pp. 147–184). Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  40. Panksepp, J. (1998). Affective neuroscience: The foundations of human and animal emotions. Oxford: New York.Google Scholar
  41. Panksepp, J., Burgdorf, J., Turner, C., & Gordon, N. (2003). Modeling ADHD-type arousal with unilateral frontal cortex damage in rats and beneficial effects of play therapy. Brain & Cognition, 52(1), 97–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Paquette, D. (2004). Theorizing the father-child relationship: mechanisms and developmental outcomes. Human Development, 47, 193–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Paquette, D., Carbonneau, R., Dubeau, D., Bigras, M., & Tremblay, R. E. (2003). Prevalence of father-child rough-and-tumble play and physical aggression in preschool children. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 18, 171–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Parke, R. D., MacDonald, K., Beitel, A., & Bhavnagri, N. (1988). The role of the family in the development of peer relationships. In R. D. Peters & R. J. McMahon (Eds.), Social learning and systems approaches to marriage and the family (pp. 17–44). Philadelphia: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  45. Parke, R. D., Kim, M., Killan, C., Dennis, J., Flyr, M. L., & Wild, M. N. (2002). Fathers’ contributions to children’s peer relationships. In C. S. Tamis-LeMonda & N. Cabrera (Eds.), Handbook of father involvement: Multidisciplinary perspectives (pp. 141–167). New Jersey: LEA.Google Scholar
  46. Pellegrini, A. D. (1995). A longitudinal study of boys’ rough-and-tumble play and dominance during early adolescence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 16, 77–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pellegrini, A. D., & Smith, P. K. (1998). Physical activity play: the nature and function of a neglected aspect of play. Child Development, 69, 577–598.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Pellegrini, A. D., Roseth, C. J., Milner, S., Bohn, C. M., Van Ryzin, M., Vance, N., et al. (2007). Social dominance in preschool classrooms. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 121, 54–64.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Pellis, S. M., & Pellis, V. C. (2007). Rough-and-tumble play and the development of the social brain. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 95–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Peterson, J. B., & Flanders, J. L. (2005). Play and the regulation of aggression. In R. E. Tremblay, W. W. Hartup & J. Archer (Eds.), Developmental origins of aggression (pp. 133–157). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  51. Posner, M. I., & Rothbart, M. K. (1998). Summary and commentary: Developing attentional skills. In Cognitive neuroscience of attention: A developmental perspective (pp. 317–323). Mahwah: Law.Google Scholar
  52. Roopnarine, J. L., Hooper, F. H., Ahmeduzzaman, M., & Pollack, B. (1993). Gentle play partners: Mother-child and father-child play in New Delhi, India. In K. MacDonald (Ed.), Children’s play in society (pp. 287–304). Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  53. Rutter, M. (1996). Connections between child and adult psychopathology. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 5, 4–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Séguin, J. R., & Zelazo, P. D. (2005). Executive Function in early physical aggression. In R. E. Tremblay, W. W. Hartup & J. Archer (Eds.), Developmental origins of aggression (pp. 307–329). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  55. Shields, A., & Cicchetti, C. (1997). Emotion regulation among school-age children: the development and validation of a new criterion Q-sort scale. Developmental Psychology, 33(6), 906–916.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Sullivan, M. W., & Lewis, M. (1989). Emotion and cognition in infancy: facial expressions during contingency learning. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 12, 221–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  58. Tannock, M. T. (2008). Rough and tumble play: an investigation of the perceptions of educators and young children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 35, 1573–1707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Tremblay, R. E. (2000). The development of aggressive behavior during childhood: what have we learned in the past century? International Journal of Behavioral Development, 24, 129–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Tremblay, R. E. (2003). Why socialization fails: The case of chronic physical aggression. In B. B. Lahey, T. E. Moffitt & A. Caspi (Eds.), Causes of conduct disorder and juvenile delinquency (pp. 182–224). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  61. Tremblay, R. E. (2006). Prevention of youth violence: why not start at the beginning? Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34, 481–487.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Tremblay, R. E. (2008). Review. Understanding development and prevention of chronic physical aggression: towards experimental epigenetic studies. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 363(1503), 2613–2622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Tremblay, R. E., Japel, C., Pérusse, D., Boivin, M., Zoccolillo, M., & Montplaisir, J. (1999). The search for the age of “onset” of physical aggression: Rousseau and Bandura revisited. Criminal Behavior and Mental Health, 9, 24–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Tremblay, R. E., Nagin, D. S., Séguin, J. R., Zoccolillo, M., Zelazo, P. D., Boivin, M., et al. (2004). Physical aggression during early childhood: trajectories and predictors. Pediatrics, 114, E43–E50.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Von Frijtag, J. C., Schot, M., van den Bos, R., & Spruijt, B. M. (2002). Individual housing during the play period results in changed responses to and consequences of a psychosocial stress situation in rats. Developmental Psychobiology, 41, 58–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zelazo, P. D., Carter, A., Reznick, J. S., & Frye, D. (1997). Early development of executive function: a problem-solving framework. Review of General Psychology, 1, 198–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Zeman, J., Cassano, M., Perry-Parrish, C., & Stegall, S. (2006). Emotion regulation in children and adolescents. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 27, 155–168.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph L. Flanders
    • 1
  • Melissa Simard
    • 2
  • Daniel Paquette
    • 3
  • Sophie Parent
    • 3
  • Frank Vitaro
    • 3
  • Robert O. Pihl
    • 1
  • Jean R. Séguin
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.School of PsychoeducationUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Montreal and Ste-Justine Hospital Research CenterMontrealCanada

Personalised recommendations