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The additive and interactive roles of aggression, prosocial behavior, and social preference in predicting resource control in young children

Alexander Wettstein (Research Associate at the University of Applied Sciences PHBern, Bern, Switzerland and the Department of Education, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland)
Mara Brendgen (Full Professor at Ste. Justine Hospital Research Centre, Montreal, Canada and the Department of Psychology, University of Quebec, Montreal, Canada)
Frank Vitaro (Full Professor at Ste. Justine Hospital Research Centre, Montreal, Canada and the School of Psycho‐education, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada)
Fanny‐Alexandra Guimond (Doctoral candidate at the Department of Psychology, University of Quebec, Montreal, Canada)
Nadine Forget‐Dubois (Research agent at the Department of Psychology, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada)
Stéphane Cantin (Associate Professor at the School of Psycho‐education, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada)
Ginette Dionne (Professor at the Department of Psychology, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada)
Michel Boivin (Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada)

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

ISSN: 1759-6599

Article publication date: 12 July 2013

341

Abstract

Purpose

Distinguishing between physical and social aggression, this study aimed to examine whether the predictive effect of aggression on resource control is moderated by prosocial behavior and corresponds to a linear or a curvilinear trend. Moderating effects of children's social preference among peers and child sex in this context were also tested.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a sample of 682 kindergarten children (348 girls; average age 72.7 months, 3.6 SD), multilevel regressions revealed additive linear effects of social preference and prosociality on resource control.

Findings

Moderate (but not high) levels of social aggression also facilitated resource control for disliked children. There was no such threshold effect for well‐liked children, who increasingly controlled the resource the more socially aggressive they were. In contrast, physical aggression hampered resource control unless used very modestly.

Originality/value

The present study has a number of positive features. First, the distinction between physical and social aggression improves our understanding of the relation between aggression and social competence and sketches a more differentiated picture of the role of different forms of aggression in resource control. Second, this study combines the concept of resource control with the concept of social preference and investigates curvilinear effects of aggression. Third, the direct observation of resource control in the Movie Viewer increases the internal validity of this study.

Keywords

Citation

Wettstein, A., Brendgen, M., Vitaro, F., Guimond, F., Forget‐Dubois, N., Cantin, S., Dionne, G. and Boivin, M. (2013), "The additive and interactive roles of aggression, prosocial behavior, and social preference in predicting resource control in young children", Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 179-196. https://doi.org/10.1108/JACPR-11-2012-0011

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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