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Journal Article

Citation

Sheehan MJ, Watson MW. Aggressive Behav. 2008; 34(3): 245-255.

Affiliation

Department of Psychology, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02454-9110, USA. sheehan@brandeis.edu

Copyright

(Copyright © 2008, International Society for Research on Aggression, Publisher John Wiley and Sons)

DOI

10.1002/ab.20241

PMID

18085532

Abstract

Most studies assessing the link between parental discipline and child aggression have focused primarily on discipline as a cause and aggression as an outcome. In addition to the pathway from discipline to aggression, however, aggressive behavior on the part of the child may lead to future use of discipline by the parent. In this study, structural equation modeling was used to assess reciprocal influences over time between a mothers' use of discipline and aggression in children. Data were drawn from the Springfield Child Development Project, a longitudinal study of middle childhood and adolescence, focusing on antecedents of aggression. The original sample consisted of 440 mother-child dyads living in the city of Springfield, MA. Children in the sample were between 7 and 14 years of age at the first data collection period and between 12 and 19 years of age at the final data collection period. Four hypotheses were tested: (1) a mother's use of aggressive discipline predicts an increase in later child aggression, (2) child aggression predicts an increase in later use of aggressive discipline, (3) the use of reasoning predicts a decrease in later child aggression, and (4) child aggression predicts an increase in later use of reasoning. All hypotheses except number 3 were supported to some degree. Results suggest that children's early aggressive behavior leads to an increase in their mothers' use of both reasoning and aggressive discipline; in turn, increased use of aggressive discipline leads to an increase in aggression during both childhood and adolescence.


Language: en

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