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The Development of Aggression and Antisocial Behavior







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The Development of Aggression and Antisocial Behavior. Brian McFarland Stony Brook University November 2004. Overview. Definitions of aggression Types of behavior frequently studied Traditional research questions Research paradigms Moffitt’s (1993) Model.
The Development of Aggression and Antisocial Behavior

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Slide 1

The Development of Aggression and Antisocial Behavior

Brian McFarland

Stony Brook University

November 2004

Slide 2

Overview

  • Definitions of aggression

  • Types of behavior frequently studied

  • Traditional research questions

  • Research paradigms

  • Moffitt’s (1993) Model

Slide 3

Definitions of Aggression (Coie & Dodge, 1997)

  • Potential to harm others

  • Intent to harm

  • Subtypes

    • Antecedents vs. outcomes

    • Reactive vs. proactive

    • Hostile/affective vs. instrumental

  • Aggression as a subset of antisocial behavior

Slide 4

Types of Behavior Frequently Studied

  • Infancy/childhood

    • Physical aggression

    • Verbal aggression

    • Bullying

  • Adolescence/adulthood

    • Physical aggression

    • Criminality/delinquency

    • Serious violent offending

    • Harsh parental discipline, physical abuse of spouse/children

Slide 5

Traditional Research Questions

  • Normative trends in aggressive behavior

  • Species-wide antecedents/moderators of aggression

  • Gender differences

  • Individual differences in aggressive/antisocial behavior

    • Stability

    • Explanations

    • Consequences

Slide 6

Methodological Issues

  • Measurement

    • Ratings (parents, teachers, peers, self-reports)

    • Official records

  • Perspectives

    • Sociological/ecological context

    • Social learning

    • Cognitive

    • Neuropsychological deficits (e.g., verbal ability, impulsivity)

  • Study designs

    • Cross-sectional

    • Longitudinal

    • Genetic

Slide 7

Paradox in Aggressive/Antisocial Behavior

  • Stability of individual differences

  • Changes in prevalence rates

Prevalence of self-reported serious violent offending. Reproduction of Figure 12.2 in Coie & Dodge (1997, p. 792).

Slide 8

Moffit’s (1993) Model of Antisocial Behavior

  • Two types of offenders:

    • Life-course-persistent

    • Adolescence-limited

Slide 9

Life-Course-Persistent Antisocial Behavior(Moffitt, 1993)

  • Neuropsychological Risk

  • Interaction with social environment

    • Evocative

    • Reactive

    • Proactive

  • Maintenance and Elaboration

    • Cumulative Continuity

    • Contemporary Continuity

    • Narrowing Options for Change

Slide 10

Life-Course-Persistent Antisocial Behavior: 1. Neuropsychological Risk (Moffitt, 1993)

  • Poor verbal and executive functions

    • Verbal deficits: listening, speaking, reading, writing, problem solving, memory

    • Executive deficits: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity (ADHD)

  • Risk factors

    • Heredity

    • Prenatal: maternal drug use, poor nutrition, toxins

    • Postnatal: toxins, brain injury

Slide 11

Life-Course-Persistent Antisocial Behavior:2. Interaction with Social Environment (Moffitt, 1993)

  • Evocative: difficult children evoke negative reactions from others

  • Parents often have similar deficits

    • Impulsivity

    • Low intelligence

    • Poor educational attainment

    • Low income

Slide 12

Life-Course-Persistent Antisocial Behavior:2. Interaction with Social Environment (Cont’d) (Moffitt, 1993)

  • Reactive: attributions of hostile intent

  • Proactive: preference for antisocial peers

  • Risks are exacerbated

    • Neuropsychological deficits not ameliorated

    • Failure to learn prosocial alternatives

    • Societal consequences of antisocial behavior

Slide 13

Life-Course-Persistent Antisocial Behavior: 3. Maintenance and Elaboration (Moffitt, 1993)

  • Cumulative Continuity

  • Contemporary continuity

  • Narrowing options for change

    • Failure to learn prosocial alternatives

    • Societal consequences of antisocial behavior

Slide 14

Adolescence-Limited Antisocial Behavior (Moffitt, 1993)

  • Motivation

  • Mimicry

  • Reinforcement

  • Extinction

Slide 15

Adolescence-Limited Antisocial Behavior: 1. Motivation (Moffitt, 1993)

  • Maturity gap

    • Physical maturity occurs earlier

    • Social maturity occurs later

  • Role vacuum

Slide 16

Adolescence-Limited Antisocial Behavior: 2. Mimicry (Moffitt, 1993)

  • Antisocial peers have mature status

    • Possessions

    • Sexual experience

    • Autonomy

    • Social consequences

Slide 17

Adolescence-Limited Antisocial Behavior:3. Reinforcement (Moffitt, 1993)

  • Social learning

    • Imitation ≠ Friendship

  • “Negative” consequences

    • Independence

Slide 18

Adolescence-Limited Antisocial Behavior:4. Extinction (Moffitt, 1993)

  • Waning motivation

  • Shifting contingencies

  • Options for change

Slide 19

Summary of Life Trajectories (Moffitt, 1993)

Slide 20

Predictions of Moffitt’s (1993)Model

  • Epidemiology

  • Differential correlates

  • Types of offenses

  • Desistence

Slide 21

What Develops? (Moffitt, 1993)

  • Life-course-persistent (psychopathology)

    • Verbal & executive deficits

    • Interpersonal skills, behavioral repertoires

    • Societal consequences

  • Adolescence-limited (normative)

    • Maturity gap

    • Attractiveness of antisocial models

    • Societal consequences

Slide 22

References

  • Coie, J.D., & Dodge, K.A. (1997). Aggression and antisocial behavior. In W. Damon & N. Eisenberg (Eds.), Social, Emotional, and Personality Development, Volume 3, Handbook of Child Psychology, 5th Edition. (pp. 779-862): Wiley.

  • Moffitt, T. E. (1993). Adolescence-limited and life-course-persistent antisocial behavior: A developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review, 100, 674-701.

Slide 23

In-Class Reviewers

  • Melissa Ramsay

  • Kate Stroud


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