Patterns of Adolescents’ Appraisals of Responses to Problem Situations: Associations with Aggression, Victimization, and Contextual Factors

Albert D. Farrell, Courtney B. Dunn, Sarah K. Pittman, Amie F. Bettencourt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although considerable research has examined factors that influence social-cognitive processes related to aggression, few studies have examined the factors that influence adolescents’ appraisal of the effectiveness of responses, particularly nonviolent alternatives to aggression. This study addressed that gap by examining patterns of adolescents’ perceived effectiveness of nonviolent and aggressive responses to hypothetical problem situations and their relations with aggression, victimization, and individual and contextual risk factors. The participants were a predominantly African American (90%) sample of 1469 students (55% female; mean age = 12.7 years; age range = 11–16) from three middle schools who completed measures of perceived effectiveness, self-efficacy, aggression and victimization, and contextual factors. Ratings of adolescents’ physical, relational, and verbal aggression and victimization, nonviolent and prosocial behavior were also obtained from their teachers. Latent class analysis identified four subgroups of adolescents including distinguishes effective, mixed support, everything works, and nothing works. Subgroups differed on measures of aggression, victimization, prosocial and nonviolent behavior, self-efficacy for nonviolence, witnessing community violence, and parents’ and peers’ support for nonviolence and aggression. The findings underscore the importance of designing violence prevention programs to target the unique needs of subgroups of adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • African American adolescents
  • Aggression
  • Early adolescence
  • Effectiveness
  • Nonviolent behavior
  • Prosocial behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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