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Gender-related aggressive strategies, psychosocial adjustment, and parental influences in middle childhood

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Gender-related aggressive strategies, psychosocial adjustment, and parental influences in middle childhood

Verlaan, Pierrette (1995) Gender-related aggressive strategies, psychosocial adjustment, and parental influences in middle childhood. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The present study examined three dimensions of children's aggression: (1) gender differences in the use of physical, verbal, and indirect strategies of aggression; (2) the relations between type of aggressive strategy used and psychosocial adjustment; and (3) the links between children's externalizing behavior problems and family functioning. The sample consisted of 406 students (205 girls and 201 boys) in Grades 5 and 6, ranging in age from 10 to 13 years (mean age = 11.2). Children provided information on same-sex peers' aggressive strategy use and the frequency of their aggression, withdrawal and likeability. A subsample of 189 mothers (97 girls and 92 boys) and 158 fathers (81 girls and 77 boys) provided reports of their children's behavior and social problems, and completed measures which assessed antisocial behavior, marital problems and parenting difficulties. The results provided evidence of gender-related forms of aggression. Specifically, physical aggression in boys and indirect aggression in girls. The findings also indicated that both physical and indirect forms of aggression were related to same-sex peer alienation. Physical aggression was linked with externalizing, internalizing and interpersonal problems, and indirect aggression was associated with social withdrawal. In addition, physically aggressive girls were more disliked than physically aggressive boys, and were viewed by fathers as experiencing more interpersonal problems than physically aggressive boys. Conversely, boys who engaged in indirect aggressive strategies were also less liked and were viewed as more socially withdrawn by same-sex peers than girls who also engaged in indirect aggression. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that gender role atypical behavior exacerbates the risk for psychosocial impairment. The results of pathway analyses indicated that externalizing behavior problems in children were also strongly related to parental adjustment difficulties. Specifically, maternal antisocial behavior and marital hostility were linked to sons' and daughters' externalizing problems via dysfunctional child-rearing practices. Maternal antisocial behavior, however, was also directly relevant to children's difficulties. For fathers, the factors related to externalizing difficulties in sons were as those specified for mothers. However, fathers' rejecting/hostile parenting style did not appear to be relevant to daughters' externalizing difficulties. The present findings contribute toward a better understanding of gender role aspects of aggressivity and their links with children's psychosocial adjustment and parental competencies

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Verlaan, Pierrette
Pagination:xii, 137 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Dept. of Psychology
Date:1995
Thesis Supervisor(s):Schwartzman, Alex E
ID Code:122
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:09
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:12
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