Subtypes of aggressive behaviors: A developmental perspective

Vitaro, Frank; Brendgen, Mara; Barker, Edward D.
January 2006
International Journal of Behavioral Development;Jan2006, Vol. 30 Issue 1, p12
Academic Journal
Aggressive behaviors in children and adolescents have undergone important conceptual and definitional modifications in the past two decades. In particular, subtypes of aggression have been proposed that separate the form and the function of the aggressive behaviors (i.e., social vs. physical aggression; reactive vs. proactive aggression). Moreover, new methodological tools have been developed to examine the developmental course of these subtypes, as well as their correlates. These conceptual and methodological innovations, in turn, have introduced new views of the development of aggressive behaviors. These "new views" contrast with more traditional perspectives about the evolution of aggressive behaviors from infancy to young adulthood, particularly with respect to the existence of individuals who begin to become aggressive by adolescence only. This article gives an overview of these definitional, conceptual, and methodological innovations. It also tries to reconcile different views about the development of aggressive behaviors from infancy through early adulthood. Theoretical and practical/clinical implications are also reviewed. The conclusion describes an integrative framework and identifies possible areas of research for the future.


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