Kids Expecting Aggressive Behavior Become Aggressive

Study analyzes impact of aggression


Published:

Photo courtesy of the Lucy Daniels Center

A new Duke University-led study shows that hypervigilance to hostility triggers aggressive behavior in children. The four-year longitudinal study involving 1,299 children and their parents finds the pattern holds true in 12 different cultural groups from nine countries across the globe.

This pattern is more common in some cultures than others, which helps explain why some cultures have more aggressive behavior problems in children than other cultures, according to the study.

 “Our study identifies a major psychological process that leads a child to commit violence,” says Kenneth A. Dodge, director of the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University and the study’s lead author. “When a child infers that he or she is being threatened by someone else and makes an attribution that the other person is acting with hostile intent, then that child is likely to react with aggression. This study shows that this pattern is universal in every one of the 12 cultural groups studied worldwide.”

Learn more at pnas.org/content/early/2015/07/08/1418572112.abstract.

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