Theoretical and methodological considerations in cross-generational research on parenting and child aggressive behavior

  • Dubow E
  • Rowell Huesmann L
  • Boxer P
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Abstract

The four studies in this special issue represent important advances in research on the intergenerational transmission of aggressive behavior. In this commentary, we review the key features and findings of these studies, as well as our own cross-generational study of aggression, the Columbia County Longitudinal Study. Next, we consider important theoretical issues (e.g., defining and operationalizing "aggression" and "parenting"; assessing reciprocal effects of parenting and child aggression; identifying the ages at which aggression should be assessed across generations; broadening the investigation of contextual and individual factors). We then discuss several methodological issues (e.g., determining the most informative measurement intervals for assessing prospective effects; sampling considerations; measuring potential moderating and mediating variables that might explain cross-generational continuities and discontinuities in parenting and aggression). Finally, we raise implications of cross-generational research for designing interventions targeting the reduction and prevention of child aggression.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Aggression
  • Cross-generational
  • Parenting

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