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Desistance From Childhood Aggression

Gilliom, Miles (2005) Desistance From Childhood Aggression. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This longitudinal study of disadvantaged boys (N = 258) had three aims. The first aim was to identify individuals who desisted from high early physical aggression (PA). A group-based trajectory analysis with different, age-sensitive measures of PA revealed that most aggressive young boys desisted (i.e., dropped to normative levels of PA) by middle childhood. Second, the study sought to discover predictors of desistance. In particular, analyses tested the proposition that desisters experience high child risk, low caregiving risk, and positive life transitions. The results provided partial support for this view. As anticipated, desisters were indistinguishable from chronically aggressive boys in PA and impulsivity at age 2. Contrary to expectation, however, desisters resembled boys with persistently low PA on a measure of fearfulness and exhibited intermediate risk (i.e., between chronics and lows) on toddlerhood measures of maternal depression, harsh parenting, and family adversity. Furthermore, life transition variables (e.g., changes in parenting, relationships with teachers and peers) failed to discriminate desisters from chronics or lows after accounting for early child and family factors. The third aim was to determine whether boys who desisted from early aggression experienced continuing difficulties in the form of social skills deficits or nonaggressive conduct problems. As expected, desisters improved in both domains according to maternal, teacher, and youth reports. In fact, by the end of middle childhood, desisters were indistinguishable from lows on these measures, with one exception: Mothers of desisters rated their sons higher on nonaggressive conduct problems.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairShaw, Daniel Scasey@pitt.eduCASEY
Committee MemberBrownell, Celia Abrownell@pitt.eduBROWNELL
Committee MemberNagin, Daniel
Committee MemberLoeber, Rolfrloe@pitt.eduRLOE
Committee MemberCampbell, Susan Bsbcamp@pitt.eduSBCAMP
Date: 3 June 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 24 April 2004
Approval Date: 3 June 2005
Submission Date: 14 April 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: developmental trajectories
Other ID:, etd-04142005-181455
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:40


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