Format of Original
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology
Original Item ID
DOI: 10.1080/15374416.2014.987380; PubMed Central PMID: 25658051
The present study examined the relative and cumulative predictive power of parent–child, interparental, and community aggression on youths' perceptions of the acceptability of aggression between peers and siblings. The potential for mother–child attachment to buffer the effects of violence on aggressive attitudes was tested, as well as the link between aggressive attitudes and aggressive behaviors. A diverse sample of 148 children (ages 9–14) completed measures of interparental, parent–child, and community aggression; a measure of mother–child attachment quality; and a measure of aggressive behaviors. Participants also rated the acceptability of aggressive interactions between two peers and two siblings in written vignettes. Mothers completed a measure of their child's aggressive behaviors. Youths' violence exposure was related to perceptions of aggression as more acceptable, with parent–child aggression having the only unique association. Maternal attachment buffered the relation between exposure to community violence and perceived acceptability of aggression, which predicted decreased aggression. When exposed to high levels of community violence, youths with more secure maternal attachment perceived aggression as less acceptable than youths with less secure attachment and, in turn, displayed fewer aggressive behaviors. Interventions that focus on strengthening the caregiver–child relationship in children exposed to violence may reduce aggressive behaviors by interrupting the development of aggressive attitudes.