Trajectories of self-reported aggression in early adolescence
MetadataShow full item record
This study identified trajectories of self-reported aggression among urban, diverse ethnic middle school students, using HLM; it was found that over a 3-year period overall aggression increased, verbal aggression increased, and physical aggression decreased. This study also examined the effects of multiple risk factors for aggression in four domains (the individual, family, community, and media) with three different methods. The first method testing the independent effects of each of the four domains without regard to the other three domains showed that nearly all the risk variables were positively associated with variability in the intercept of all aggression outcomes and some variables were negatively associated with variability in the slope of some aggression outcomes. The second method testing the unique effects of each of the four domains controlling for covariation with the other three domains revealed that most of the risk domains made unique contributions to the prediction of the development of all aggression outcomes. Among the four domains, the family context explained the largest amount of variance of all aggressive behaviors, suggesting the importance of family intervention for reducing aggression in early adolescence. The third method using a cumulative risk model demonstrated that the greater number of risk factors present predicted high initial levels of overall, verbal, and physical aggression, and was associated with less increase or more decrease in all aggressive behaviors over time. Taken together, all three methods provide evidence that multiple risk factors at multiple levels exert influence on the growth of early adolescent aggression with varying degrees. Pros and cons of each of the three statistical models were discussed.