Proactive and Reactive Aggression in Referred Children and Adolescents

Authors

  • Daniel F. Connor MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Massachusetts
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 4

      Daniel F. Connor, MD, Ronald J. Steingard, MD, and Julie A. Cunningham, BS, Department of Psychiatry, Medical School, University of Massachusetts;

  • Ronald J. Steingard MD,

    1. University of Massachusetts
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 4

      Daniel F. Connor, MD, Ronald J. Steingard, MD, and Julie A. Cunningham, BS, Department of Psychiatry, Medical School, University of Massachusetts;

  • Julie A. Cunningham BS,

    1. University of Massachusetts
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 4

      Daniel F. Connor, MD, Ronald J. Steingard, MD, and Julie A. Cunningham, BS, Department of Psychiatry, Medical School, University of Massachusetts;

  • Richard H. Melloni Jr. PhD,

    1. Northeastern University
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 6

      Richard H. Melloni Jr., PhD, Department of Psychology, Laboratory in Neurobiology, Northeastern University.

  • Jennifer J. Anderson RNc

    1. Devereux School
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 5

      Jennifer J. Anderson, RNc, Department of Nursing, Devereux School, Rutland, Massachusetts;


Department of Psychiatry, 7th Floor, Room S7-802, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655. Email: daniel.connor@umassmed.edu

Abstract

Investigating different types of aggression is important to facilitate a better understanding of excessive maladaptive aggression in referred youth. Using regression analysis, the authors investigated demographic, historical, diagnostic, and treatment correlates of proactive aggression and reactive aggression in a heterogeneous population (N = 323) of psychiatrically referred youths. Ratings of proactive and reactive aggression significantly correlated with more established measures of aggression. Results suggest the importance of hyperactive/impulsive behavior, disruptive behavior disorders, and self-reported hostility in youths with both reactive and proactive aggression. Substance use disorders, a family history of substance abuse, and family violence were specifically associated with proactive aggression. Younger age and a history of abuse were correlated with reactive aggression. Implications for clinical interventions and future research are discussed.

Ancillary