Risk Factors Associated with Proactive and Reactive Aggression in a Child Psychiatric Inpatient Sample

Abstract

Proactive and reactive aggression represent distinct functions of aggression that are associated with different risk factors, including individual and contextual characteristics. However, more research evaluating the interactive effects of risk factors is needed. The current study evaluated whether corporal punishment moderated the influence of neighborhood problems and anger coping on proactive and reactive aggression in a child psychiatric inpatient sample of 6 to 13 year olds (n = 151). Findings were compared across child- and caregiver-reports of aggression. Consistent with expectations, anger coping was more strongly associated with reactive aggression than proactive aggression across informants. In contrast, perceived neighborhood problems were only associated with child-reports of proactive aggression, with corporal punishment moderating this association. Specifically, the association between neighborhood problems and proactive aggression was only evident at high levels of corporal punishment. Treatment implications and future directions are discussed.

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Conflict of Interest

Paula J. Fite, Jon Poquiz, John L. Cooley, Laura Stoppelbein, Stephen P. Becker, Aaron M. Luebbe and Leilani Greening declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Fite, P.J., Poquiz, J., Cooley, J.L. et al. Risk Factors Associated with Proactive and Reactive Aggression in a Child Psychiatric Inpatient Sample. J Psychopathol Behav Assess 38, 56–65 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10862-015-9503-0

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Keywords

  • Proactive/reactive aggression
  • Neighborhood problems
  • Anger control
  • Corporal punishment