Patterns of Aggressive Behavior and Peer Victimization from Childhood to Early Adolescence: A Latent Class Analysis

School of Social Welfare, University of Kansas, 1545 Lilac Lane, Lawrence, KS 66044, USA.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence (Impact Factor: 2.72). 06/2011; 40(6):644-55. DOI: 10.1007/s10964-010-9583-9
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The developmental period characterized by the transition from childhood and elementary school to early adolescence and middle school has been associated with increases in aggressive behavior and peer victimization. Few longitudinal studies, however, have examined the stability of aggression and victimization during this critical transition. This study uses latent class analysis (LCA) to examine patterns of aggressive behavior and victimization during the transition to middle school among urban, public school students (N = 458; Girls = 53%; Latino/a = 53%; M age at t1 = 10.2 years). Independent LCA models were conducted using self-reported data assessing subjects' involvement in aggressive conduct and victimization during the spring semesters of grades four, five, and six. Elementary school students in the fourth grade initially belonged to one of four groups identified as aggressor, victim, aggressor-victim, and uninvolved latent classes. Contrary to prior research, membership in these classes changed significantly by the time students completed their first year of middle school with most youth participating in episodes of aggression and victimization during the transition. Six common paths that describe patterns of aggressive behavior and victimization from the last two years of elementary school to the first year of middle school were found. Findings are discussed in the context of social dominance theory and prior research that has found greater stability in aggression and victimization among early adolescents.

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