Longitudinal Relations between Beliefs Supporting Aggression,Anger Regulation, and Dating Aggression among Early Adolescents

Terri N. Sullivan, Rachel C. Garthe, Elizabeth A. Goncy, Megan M. Carlson, Kathryn L. Behrhorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dating aggression occurs frequently in early to mid-adolescence and has negative repercussions for psychosocial adjustment and physical health. The patterns of behavior learned during this developmental timeframe may persist in future dating relationships, underscoring the need to identify risk factors for this outcome. The current study examined longitudinal relations between beliefs supporting aggression, anger regulation, and dating aggression. Participants were 176 middle school students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade (50 % female; 82 % African American). No direct effects were found between beliefs supporting reactive or proactive aggression and dating aggression. Beliefs supporting reactive aggression predicted increased rates of anger dysregulation, and beliefs supporting proactive aggression led to subsequent increases in anger inhibition. Anger dysregulation and inhibition were associated with higher frequencies of dating aggression. An indirect effect was found for the relation between beliefs supporting reactive aggression and dating aggression via anger dysregulation. Another indirect effect emerged for the relation between beliefs supporting proactive aggression and dating aggression through anger inhibition. The study’s findings suggested that beliefs supporting proactive and reactive aggression were differentially related to emotion regulation processes, and identified anger dysregulation and inhibition as risk factors for dating aggression among adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)982-994
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of youth and adolescence
Volume46
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Beliefs about aggression
  • Dating aggression
  • Emotion inhibition
  • Emotion regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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