Developmental Trajectories of Physical Aggression and Nonaggressive Rule-Breaking During Late Childhood and Early Adolescence [2018]

Research has consistently linked two forms of childhood antisocial behavior, physical aggression and nonaggressive rule-breaking, to adolescent delinquency. However, there is a lack of knowledge regarding the development of problem behavior during the latter years of childhood and early adolescence (ages 6 to 14). The current study utilized longitudinal data that followed 756 at-risk males and females from early childhood into early adolescence to identify trajectories of physical aggression and nonaggressive rule-breaking and the association between documented risk factors with class membership. The findings supported a four-class model for both physical aggression and nonaggressive rule-breaking. Both models produced high, moderately high, average, and abstaining classes. However, the physical aggression models decreased as participants aged, while the nonaggressive rule-breaking classes increased. Family adversity, protective neighborhoods, negative child temperament, premature birth, race, and gender were associated with class membership. The study findings may inform targeted, problem-specific strategies aimed at early intervention.

Eugena M. Givens, Joan A. Reid

Criminal Justice and Behavior, October 5, 2018