Children's representations of conflict and distress situations at 7 years were examined as developmental precursors to relational aggression, overt aggression, and psychiatric symptoms in early adolescence. Children were identified in preschool as normally developing or with behavior problems. Overt, but not relational, aggression, was correlated with concurrent disruptive symptoms in adolescence. Childhood predictors of adolescent aggression were found only for girls: Early hostile themes predicted more relational and overt aggression, while prosocial themes predicted less relational aggression. Also for girls only, early emotions foretold later functioning: Sadness predicted a higher ratio of relational to overt aggression, while inexpressiveness predicted disruptive, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Relational and overt aggression are discussed with regard to sex differences in symptom changes over time.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology