Elementary school students (N = 139) read vignettes describing aggressive peers and rated the extent to which they believed the peers' aggression would continue over time and in different contexts. Children also rated their social and moral acceptance of aggression, and how difficult it would be to help the vignette characters desist from aggression. Teachers rated participants' aggressive and prosocial behaviors. Results indicated that aggression is generally viewed as continuous across time and context, and likely to produce little acceptance. Beliefs about continuity were positively associated with perceived difficulty of changing aggression and negatively associated with social acceptance. Gender moderated the association between continuity beliefs and moral acceptance. Teacher-rated behavior was associated with social perceptions. Findings are discussed with regard to their implications for future research as well as their potential application to the design of interventions for youth aggression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Continuity of aggression
- Prosocial behavior