- Co-occurrence of aggressive behavior and depressive symptoms in early adolescence: a longitudinal multi-informant study
- European Review of Applied Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 63 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
Introduction: Aggressive behavior and depressive symptoms co-occur frequently during adolescence. The failure model argues that the onset of aggressive behavior is more likely to precede the onset of depressive symptoms, whereas the acting-out model states that depressed mood predicts subsequent aggressive behavior. However, few longitudinal studies have examined with fully recursive models the temporal ordering of aggressive behavior and depressive symptoms during early adolescence.
Objective: Therefore, this study examined the bidirectional associations between aggressive behavior and depressive symptoms during early adolescence, using a multi-informant cross-lagged panel model. Gender differences were also investigated.
Method: We used data from three waves of questionnaire data that were annually collected among 497 early adolescents (56.9% boys) and their parents, thereby covering an age range from 12 to 15. Adolescents reported on their depressive symptoms and the parents reported on the adolescents’ aggressive behavior.
Results: Cross-lagged path analyses showed that early adolescents’ aggressive behavior predicted subsequent depressive symptoms, but early adolescents’ depressive symptoms did not predict aggressive behavior. Findings were similar for boys and girls.
Conclusion: Thus, our results provide support for the failure model and suggest that reducing aggressive behavior at the start of adolescence might reduce the risk for subsequent depressive symptoms.
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