The Development of Interpersonal Aggression During Adolescence: The Importance of Parents, Siblings, and Family Economics


  • This research is currently supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute of Mental Health (HD047573, HD051746, and MH051361). Support for earlier years of the study also came from multiple sources, including the National Institute of Mental Health (MH00567, MH19734, MH43270, MH59355, MH62989, and MH48165), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA05347), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD027724), the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health (MCJ-109572), and the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Adolescent Development Among Youth in High-Risk Settings.

concerning this article should be addressed to Shannon Tierney Williams, Family Research Group, Department of Human and Community Development, University of California, Davis, 202 Cousteau Place, Suite 100, Davis, CA 95616. Electronic mail may be sent to


Latent growth curve modeling employed data from a longitudinal study of 451 sibling families to examine parents, siblings, and family economics as factors in individual differences in the developmental course of interpersonal aggression during adolescence. Findings suggest that individual change in interpersonal aggression during adolescence can be predicted by the gender and aggression of one’s sibling; predictions varied by the gender composition of the sibling dyad. Rates of parental hostility predicted levels of interpersonal aggression for both older (mean age = 12 years) and younger siblings (mean age = 15), and growth in aggression for younger siblings. Family economic pressure predicted interpersonal aggression of both siblings indirectly through parental hostility. Implications for future research and preventive interventions are discussed.