Connections Among Preadolescent Children's Attachment, Temperament and Aggression
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This study was designed to assess the connections of preadolescent children's self-reported attachment status and temperament with peer ratings of their overt and relational aggression and other behaviors, and whether these connections varied as a function of child gender. Self-report questionnaires were given to forty-five children between the ages of seven and twelve regarding their attachment status and temperamental traits. Child participants also assessed the behaviors of their peers using a standard peer nomination measure that assessed both overt and relational forms of aggression, as well as helping behaviors and the negative affective tendencies of their peers. Analyses addressed the potential influence of children's attachment status, temperament, and gender on these four peer ratings. It was found that, overall, boys showed higher levels of overt aggression and girls showed higher levels of relational aggression. Both types of aggression were highest in children with a dismissive attachment style, and especially so for overtly aggressive boys and relationally aggressive girls. Negative affect was found to be dependent on both attachment style and for girls, temperament. No significant effects were found for age or for helping behaviors in relation to any of the variables. Discussion focused on the central role of dismissive attachment styles in many of these findings.