Hostile attributional bias and aggressive behavior in global context.
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We tested a model that children's tendency to attribute hostile intent to others in response to provocation is a key psychological process that statistically accounts for individual differences in reactive aggressive behavior and that this mechanism contributes to global group differences in children's chronic aggressive behavior problems. Participants were 1,299 children (mean age at year 1 = 8.3 y; 51% girls) from 12 diverse ecological-context groups in nine countries worldwide, followed across 4 y. In year 3, each child was presented with each of 10 hypothetical vignettes depicting an ambiguous provocation toward the child and was asked to attribute the likely intent of the provocateur (coded as benign or hostile) and to predict his or her own behavioral response (coded as nonaggression or reactive aggression). Mothers and children independently rated the child's chronic aggressive behavior problems in years 2, 3, and 4. In every ecological group, in those situations in which a child attributed hostile intent to a peer, that child was more likely to report that he or she would respond with reactive aggression than in situations when that same child attributed benign intent. Across children, hostile attributional bias scores predicted higher mother- and child-rated chronic aggressive behavior problems, even controlling for prior aggression. Ecological group differences in the tendency for children to attribute hostile intent statistically accounted for a significant portion of group differences in chronic aggressive behavior problems. The findings suggest a psychological mechanism for group differences in aggressive behavior and point to potential interventions to reduce aggressive behavior.
Child Behavior Disorders
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1073/pnas.1418572112
Publication InfoDodge, Kenneth A; Malone, Patrick S; Lansford, Jennifer E; Sorbring, Emma; Skinner, Ann T; Tapanya, Sombat; ... Pastorelli, Concetta (2015). Hostile attributional bias and aggressive behavior in global context. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 112(30). pp. 9310-9315. 10.1073/pnas.1418572112. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/10328.
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William McDougall Distinguished Professor of Public Policy Studies
Kenneth A. Dodge is the William McDougall Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. He is also the founding and past director of the Center for Child and Family Policy, as well as the founder of Family Connects International. Dodge is a leading scholar in the development and prevention of aggressive and violent beha
Research Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy
Jennifer Lansford's research focuses on the development of aggression and other behavior problems in youth, with an emphasis on how family and peer contexts contribute to or protect against these outcomes. She examines how experiences with parents (e.g., physical abuse, discipline, divorce) and peers (e.g., rejection, friendships) affect the development of children's behavior problems, how influence operates in adolescent peer groups, and how cultural contexts moderate links between parenting an
Research Scientist, Senior
Patrick Malone is a senior research scientist with the Center. His specialization is quantitative psychology and his independent research program focuses on developing statistical models of change over time, especially in health behaviors and developmental psychopathology. He is particularly interested in novel approaches to understanding racial, ethnic, and cultural differences in adolescent substance use and other health risk behaviors. As a methodological specialist, Dr. Malone col
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