Sex differences in the development of physical aggression: An intergenerational perspective and implications for preventive interventions [2019]

This article reviews the state of knowledge on the development of chronic physical aggression (CPA), with the aim of identifying the most effective prevention strategies. We specifically focus on the early development of physical aggression, on sex differences in the use of physical aggression, and on the transmission of behavior problems from one generation to the other. The body of research on the development of CPA from the past three decades that we review shows increasing evidence that its prevention requires a long‐term biopsychosocial developmental approach which also must include an intergenerational perspective. Recent genetic and epigenetic research has indicated that there are both important genetic and environmental effects on gene expression which start at conception. We conclude that one of the most effective strategies to break the intergenerational transmission of CPA involves giving long‐term support to pregnant women with a history of behavior problems, their spouse, and their offspring.

Richard E. Tremblay, Sylvana M. Côté
Infant Mental Health Journal, Volume 40, Issue 1, January/February 2019