Trajectories of Prosocial Behavior and Physical Aggression in Middle Childhood: Links to Adolescent School Dropout and Physical Violence


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Trajectories of prosocial behavior and physical aggression between 6 and 12 years of age were identified for a sample (N=1,025) of males. The trajectories were then used to predict school dropout and physical violence at age 17. Using a group-based semi-parametric method, two trajectories of prosociality (low and moderate declining) and three trajectories of physical aggression (low, moderate, and high declining) were obtained. Only a small minority (3.4%) of the boys were characterized by both high aggression and moderate prosociality. Physical aggression predicted both school dropout and physical violence, but contrary to expectations, prosocial behavior did not have additive or protective effects.