Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Paula J. Fite

Committee Members

Jenny Macfie, Gregory L. Stuart

Abstract

Child aggression is often categorized by the motivation behind the behavior, namely proactive and reactive aggression. Proactive aggression is goal oriented in nature whereas reactive aggression is in response to a perceived threat. There is some evidence to suggest that these subtypes are associated with distinct behavioral and psychological problems, with proactive aggression being associated with delinquency and reactive aggression being associated with depression. However, the behavioral and psychological correlates of these subtypes of aggression are not one to one relations and little research has examined the variables that impact these relations. This is a notable omission in the literature, as it is important to examine factors that influence these associations in order to identify targets for interventions. Parents play a role in the socialization process and are often targeted for intervention efforts. Accordingly, the current study examined the potential moderating effects of parenting behavior (i.e., corporal punishment, parental monitoring and positive parenting) on the associations between aggression subtypes and delinquency and depression. Participants include 69 children ranging from 9-12 (M=10.35, SD=1.16) years of age and their primary caregiver. First order effects indicated that proactive aggression is associated with delinquency. Only monitoring was found to moderate this relation; however this association was not in the expected direction. That is, proactive aggression was only associated with delinquency at low levels of poor monitoring. The first order effects model of depression indicated a marginally statistically significant association between reactive aggression and depression. However none of the parenting variables were found to moderate the relation between reactive aggression and depression.

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