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Justification of Violence Beliefs and Social Problem-Solving as Mediators between Maltreatment and Behavior Problems in Adolescents

  • Esther Calvete (a1)

This study examined whether justification of violence beliefs and social problem solving mediated between maltreatment experiences and aggressive and delinquent behavior in adolescents. Data were collected on 191 maltreated and 546 nonmaltreated adolescents (ages 14 to 17 years), who completed measures of justification of violence beliefs, social problem-solving dimensions (problem orientation, and impulsivity/carelessness style), and psychological problems. Findings indicated that maltreated adolescents' higher levels of delinquent and aggressive behavior were partially accounted for by justification of violence beliefs, and that their higher levels of depressive symptoms were partially mediated by a more negative orientation to social problem-solving. Comparisons between boys and girls indicated that the model linking maltreatment, cognitive variables, and psychological problems was invariant.

Este estudio examinó si las creencias justificadoras de la violencia y la resolución de problemas sociales mediaban entre las experiencias de maltrato y la conducta agresiva y delincuente en adolescentes. Se obtuvieron datos de 191 adolescentes que habían experimentado maltrato y 546 adolescentes no maltratados (edades entre 14 y 17 años). Completaron medidas de creencias justificadoras de la violencia, dimensiones de solución de problemas (orientación al problema, y estilo impulsivo) y problemas psicológicos. Los resultados indicaron que los mayores niveles de conducta agresiva y delincuente entre los adolescentes maltratados estaban parcialmente explicados por las creencias justificadoras de la violencia, y que sus mayores niveles de síntomas depresivos estaban mediados parcialmente por una orientación más negativa a los problemas sociales. Las comparaciones entre chicos y chicas indicaron que el modelo de asociación entre maltrato, variables cognitivas y síntomas psicológicos era invariante.

Corresponding author
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Esther Calvete, Universidad de Deusto, Departamento de Psicología, Apdo. 1, 48080 Bilbao (Spain). E-mail:
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