Adolescent aggression and social cognition in the context of personality: impulsivity as a moderator of predictions from social information processing.
This study asked how individual differences in social cognition and personality interact in predicting later aggressive behavior. It was hypothesized that the relationship between immediate response evaluations in social information processing (SIP) and later aggressive behavior would be moderated by impulsivity. In particular, the immediate positive evaluations of aggressive responses would be more strongly related to later aggressive behavior for high-impulsive than for low-impulsive individuals, because high-impulsive children would be less likely to integrate peripheral information and consider long-term future consequences of their actions. Participants were 585 adolescents (52% male) and their mothers and teachers from the longitudinal Child Development Project. Structural equation modeling indicated that teacher-reported impulsivity at ages 11-13 moderated the association between adolescents' endorsement of aggressive responses in hypothetical, ambiguous situations and subsequent mother-reported aggressive behavior. Specifically, positive endorsement of aggressive responses at age 13 was significantly related to later aggressive behavior (age 14-17) for participants with high and medium levels of impulsivity, but this association was not significant for participants with low levels of impulsivity. This study provides evidence of personality variables as potential moderators of the link between SIP and behavior.
Fite, JE; Goodnight, JA; Bates, JE; Dodge, KA; Pettit, GS
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