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NASP Home NASP Publications School Psychology Review (SPR) Volume 39 Issue 4 (2010) Reactive and Proactive Subtypes of Re...
Volume 39, Issue 4 (2010)

Reactive and Proactive Subtypes of Relational and Physical Aggression in Middle Childhood: Links to Concurrent and Longitudinal Adjustment

pp. 601—611

Abstract. Peer aggression in children is a serious issue that school psychologists often encounter on a daily basis. To develop a better understanding of aggression, it is important to look at specific subtypes of aggression and how they are related to adjustment difficulties. Past research has examined the links between reactive and proactive physical aggression and adjustment difficulties, but fewer studies have examined functional subtypes of relational aggression. Furthermore, little research has examined the associations between reactive and proactive relational aggression and adjustment difficulties in middle childhood. This study examined how reactive and proactive subtypes of both physical aggression and relational aggression were associated with adjustment difficulties (internalizing and externalizing problems) at Time 1 (third grade) and Time 2 (fourth grade) in a sample (n = 125) of children. Regression analyses showed that reactive relational aggression was associated with concurrent internalizing problems. Associations between aggression and externalizing difficulties varied by gender. These data suggest the importance of taking into account functional subtypes of both relational aggression and physical aggression when studying adjustment difficulties. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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