• Aggression in psychiatrically disordered children and adolescents

      Harnett, Nancy Elizabeth; Robinson, Lisa, Ph.D., M.S. (1992)
      In light of the current emphasis on adolescent aggression and the lack of available measurement instruments to study this phenomenon, this research project was undertaken to (a) examine the nature, range, and frequency of aggressive behaviors in psychiatrically disordered children and adolescents, (b) assess the psychometric properties of research instruments purporting to measure aggression, and (c) examine the relationship between age, gender, socioeconomic status and aggression. A developmental framework was utilized to guide this research endeavor. The sample consisted of 32 inpatients hospitalized at a private psychiatric facility. The instruments employed in this study included: (a) The Child Behavior Checklist/Profile; (b) The Modified Overt Aggression Scale (MOAS); (c) The Children's Overt Aggression Tool (COAT); and (d) The Hollingshead Two Factor Measure of Socioeconomic Status (SES). Findings from the study indicated significant differences in overall aggression between different age groups. There were no significant differences in aggression based on gender or socioeconomic class. Regression analysis revealed age and the absence of legal involvement to be the two strongest predictors of aggression. The overall findings from the psychometric assessment of the instruments lent support for reliability and validity of the COAT and the MOAS, with the exception of the autoaggression subscales. Additional refinement of the autoaggression subscales and more extensive assessments of the COAT and MOAS are warranted.;The findings from this study are consistent with some aspects of developmental theory. The anticipated transient recrudescence of regressive expressions of aggression during adolescence was displayed by many of the subjects. However the degree and intensity of specific aggressive behaviors exhibited by some of the subjects were not associated with earlier stages of normal development.