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The co-development of sympathy and overt aggression from middle childhood to early adolescence


Zuffianò, A; Colasante, T; Buchmann, M; Malti, T (2017). The co-development of sympathy and overt aggression from middle childhood to early adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 54(1):98-110.

Abstract

We assessed the extent to which feelings of sympathy and aggressive behaviors codeveloped from 6 to 12 years of age in a representative sample of Swiss children (N = 1,273). Caregivers and teachers reported children’s sympathy and overt aggression in 3-year intervals. Second-order latent curve models indicated general mean-level declines in sympathy and overt aggression over time, although the decline in sympathy was relatively small. Importantly, both trajectories were characterized by significant interindividual variability. A bivariate second-order latent curve model revealed a small—moderate negative correlation between the latent slopes of sympathy and overt aggression, suggesting an inverse codevelopmental relationship between the constructs from middle childhood to early adolescence. In terms of predictive effects, an autoregressive cross-lagged model indicated a lack of bidirectional relations between sympathy and overt aggression, underscoring the primacy of the variables’ rank-order stability. We discuss the codevelopment and developmental relations of sympathy and aggression, their potential conjoint social-emotional mechanisms, and the practical implications thereof.

Abstract

We assessed the extent to which feelings of sympathy and aggressive behaviors codeveloped from 6 to 12 years of age in a representative sample of Swiss children (N = 1,273). Caregivers and teachers reported children’s sympathy and overt aggression in 3-year intervals. Second-order latent curve models indicated general mean-level declines in sympathy and overt aggression over time, although the decline in sympathy was relatively small. Importantly, both trajectories were characterized by significant interindividual variability. A bivariate second-order latent curve model revealed a small—moderate negative correlation between the latent slopes of sympathy and overt aggression, suggesting an inverse codevelopmental relationship between the constructs from middle childhood to early adolescence. In terms of predictive effects, an autoregressive cross-lagged model indicated a lack of bidirectional relations between sympathy and overt aggression, underscoring the primacy of the variables’ rank-order stability. We discuss the codevelopment and developmental relations of sympathy and aggression, their potential conjoint social-emotional mechanisms, and the practical implications thereof.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
Dewey Decimal Classification:370 Education
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:27 Feb 2018 15:53
Last Modified:14 Mar 2018 17:57
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0012-1649
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0000417
Official URL:http://psycnet.apa.org/buy/2017-42388-001

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