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Predictors and sequelae of trajectories of physical aggression in school-age boys and girls

  • Susan B. Campbell (a1), Susan Spieker (a2), Nathan Vandergrift (a3), Jay Belsky (a4), Margaret Burchinal (a3) and THE NICHD EARLY CHILD CARE RESEARCH NETWORK...


Teacher-rated trajectories of physical aggression in boys and girls from first through sixth grade were examined using data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. In separate analyses, four trajectories were identified in boys and three in girls. Higher levels of aggression in both boys and girls were related to greater sociodemographic risk and higher maternal harshness in the preschool years; lower levels of observed maternal sensitivity during early childhood also predicted higher trajectories of aggression among girls. Trajectory groups also differed on a range of social and academic adjustment outcomes in sixth grade, with the most aggressive children and even moderately aggressive children evidencing some difficulties in adjustment. Patterns and levels of aggression in boys and girls are discussed as are their predictors and consequences.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Susan B. Campbell, Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, 210 South Bouquet Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15260; E-mail:


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