Approach/Positive Anticipation, Frustration/Anger, and Overt Aggression in Childhood


  • We thank the study participants and research staff. This work was supported by NICHD HD54481. The Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development was conducted by the NICHD Early Child Care Research Network and was supported by NICHD through a cooperative agreement that calls for scientific collaboration between the grantees and the NICHD staff. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health. The WRRP study was supported by grants from NICHD (HD38075) and NICHD/OSERS (HD46167).

concerning this article should be addressed to Kirby Deater-Deckard, Department of Psychology, Virginia Tech, 109 Williams Hall (0436), Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA. E-mail:


ABSTRACT We examined mothers' ratings of children's affective and behavioral aspects of approach tendencies and links with overt aggressive behavior problems while considering the genetic etiology of these processes. Approach/positive anticipation (AP), frustration/anger (FA), and overt aggression in 4–9-year-olds were assessed using mothers' reports in a diverse national sample (n=992) and a sample of same-sex twins (n=195 pairs). AP and FA were positively correlated with each other and with overt aggression (r from .2 to .5), and these associations were very similar for boys and girls. AP and FA provided overlapping as well as independent statistical prediction of aggression. AP statistical prediction of aggression was substantially mediated by FA, an effect that was accounted for by underlying genetic and nonshared environmental influences.