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Household family structure and children's aggressive behavior: A longitudinal study of urban elementary school children

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Abstract

The relationship between contemporary household family structures at fourth-grade and sixth-grade parent- and teacher-rated aggression was examined in an epidemiologically defined population of urban school children. The relationship between family structure and aggression varied by child gender and by parent and teacher ratings in the home and school, respectively. After taking into account family income, urban area, and fourth-grade aggressive behavior, boys in both mother—father and mother—male partner families were significantly less likely than boys in mother-alone families to be rated as aggressive by teachers. No significant relations between family structure and teacher- or parent-rated aggression were found for girls.

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This work was supported by the following National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grants: Epidemiologic Prevention Center for Early Risk Behavior P50 MH38725; Periodic Outcome of Two Preventive Trials RO1 MH42968; and a Postdoctoral Training Program 2T32MH18834-06A1. The authors would like to thank the Baltimore Public City School System and the children and parents who participated. The views expressed here are those of the authors; no official endorsement by NIMH is intended or should be inferred.

Address all correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Ialongo, Department of Mental Hygiene, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 624 North Broadway, Baltimore, Maryland 21205.

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Vaden-Kiernan, N., Ialongo, N.S., Pearson, J. et al. Household family structure and children's aggressive behavior: A longitudinal study of urban elementary school children. J Abnorm Child Psychol 23, 553–568 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01447661

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