Aggression and Self-Esteem: A Diary Study of Children's Reactivity to Negative Interpersonal Events

Authors


  • Alison J. Esposito, Department of Psychology, University of Delaware; Roger Kobak, Department of Psychology, University of Delaware; Michelle Little, Department of Psychology, Temple University.

  • This research was supported by NIMH grant number R01-MH59670 and by a grant from the Wings Foundation.

concerning this article should be addresed to Roger Kobak, Department of Psychology, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716. Electronic mail may be sent to rkobak@udel.edu.

Abstract

Abstract The study employs a daily diary design to assess self-esteem reactivity and its association with children's aggressive behavior. We test the hypothesis that the self-esteem of aggressive children will be more reactive to negative interpersonal events than the self-esteem of nonaggressive children. Results provide partial support for the aggression/reactivity hypothesis. Aggressive children's self-esteem was more reactive to negative peer events but less reactive to negative adult events than the self-esteem of less aggressive children. These findings are discussed in relation to the experimental literature relating self-esteem instability and ego-threat to aggression and in relation to the extensive body of research on childhood aggression. Intervention implications are also considered.

Ancillary