Psychology, Department of

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Aggressive and antisocial girls: Research update and challenges

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2002
Abstract: 

There is a growing recognition that a significant number of young women engage in highly aggressive and antisocial behaviors. This acknowledgement has created demands on both policy and program development. The response to these demands, however, has been delayed due to the fact that we still know relatively little about aggressive and antisocial behavior in girls. In this article, we briefly review trends in the rates of aggressive and antisocial acts among female youth, address the issue of gender specific forms of aggression, and discuss research on the role of risk and protective factors. We emphasize the importance of understanding female aggression and antisocial behavior through a dynamic developmental framework that recognizes the cumulative and transactional impact of risk and protective factors over time. Our review focuses on adolescent girls in keeping with research that suggests that the risk for aggressive and antisocial behavior in girls is most acute during this developmental period.

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Article
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The dynamics of measuring attachment

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2002
Abstract: 

Comments on the paper by P. R. Shaver and M. Mikulciner (see record 2002-08087-002) about research and assessment related to the psychodynamics of adult attachment. The current authors specifically address the adult attachment interview (AAI) compared with self-report methods in measuring the dynamics of attachment. They noted the benefits of the AAI, but are also persuaded by Shaver and Mikulciner's article that self-reports of adult attachment are predictive of attachment-related dynamic processes. It is suggested that the joint use of self-reports and interviews would provide a useful way to further the study of attachment dynamics.

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Article
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Adolescent-parent attachment: Bonds that support healthy development

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2004
Abstract: 

Adolescence is characterized by significant neurological, cognitive and sociopsychological development. With the advance of adolescence, the amount of time spent with parents typically drops while time spent with peers increases considerably. Nonetheless, parents continue to play a key role in influencing their adolescent’s development. Adolescent-parent attachment has profound effects on cognitive, social and emotional functioning. Secure attachment is associated with less engagement in high risk behaviours, fewer mental health problems, and enhanced social skills and coping strategies. The present article provides a brief synopsis of the changes that occur during adolescence and describes what attachment is, why it continues to be important and how it is transformed during adolescence. It summarizes major findings on the impact of attachment on adolescent adjustment and discusses strategies for supporting healthy adolescent-parent attachment.

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Article
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The transfer of juveniles to adult court in Canada and the United States: Confused agendas and compromised assessment procedures

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This article traces the evolution of the youth justice system in Canada and the United States and examines the practice of transferring juveniles to criminal court. Experts disagree about whether the goals of rehabilitation and retribution can be satisfactorily reconciled within the bounds of the juvenile system, and whether juvenile transfer significantly deters youth crime. Equally controversial is the appropriateness of exposing youth--who are in the midst of development--to the criminal system and to the possibility of receiving a lengthy adult sanction. We argue that it is neither efficacious nor ethical to transfer youth to adult court and deny them the protections afforded by the juvenile system. Concepts from developmental psychology, risk assessment, and juvenile psychopathy are integrated into this argument. Recommendations for policy and future research are noted, including a need to develop systematic guidelines that bridge legal and psychosocial constructs in the assessment of risk, amenability to treatment, and maturity of character in youth.

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Article
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Examining the science and practice of violence risk assessment with female adolescents

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

While the field of violence risk assessment among adult males has progressed rapidly, several questions remain with respect to the application of forensic risk assessment tools within other populations. In this article, we consider the empirical evidence for the assessment, prediction, and management of violence in adolescent girls. We discuss limitations of generalizing violence risk assessment findings from other populations to adolescent girls and point out areas where there is little or no empirical foundation. Critical issues that must be addressed in research prior to the adoption or rejection of such instruments are delineated. Finally, we provide practice guidelines for clinicians currently involved with adolescent females within risk assessment contexts.

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Article
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Evaluating parenting capacity: Validity problems with the MMPI, PAI, CAPI and ratings of child adjustment

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Practitioners who conduct assessments of parenting capacity for the courts are faced with the challenge of determining the extent to which positive self-presentation by parents distorts test findings. This study examined positive self-presentation bias on commonly used psychological tests in cases referred following removal of children from the home because of abuse or neglect. Substantial positive self-presentation bias was apparent on the measures examined, and parents who presented themselves positively on one test tended to do so on others. Intellectual functioning did not account for these findings. The results demonstrate the pervasive problem of positive self-presentation bias in compromising the validity of test results in this population. Recommendations for conducting clinical assessments with this population are offered, including direction for the use and interpretation of psychological tests.

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Article
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Nipping psychopathy in the bud: An examination of the convergent, predictive and theoretical utility of the PCL-YV among adolescent girls

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Over the last decade rates of violence among adolescent girls have increased. Within high-risk contexts, urgent calls for assessment options have resulted in the extension of adult and male-based instruments to adolescent females in spite of the absence of strong empirical support. The current study evaluates the downward extension of psychopathy within a population of female juvenile offenders (N=125). The convergent and predictive validity of the Psychopathy Checklist-Youth Version (PCL-YV) were evaluated within a structural equation modeling (SEM) framework. Results indicated that while a specific component of psychopathy, deficient affective experience, was related to aggression, the effect was negated once victimization experiences were entered into the models. In addition, PCL-YV scores were not predictive of future offending, while victimization experiences significantly increased the odds of re-offending. Implications for research, policy, and clinical practice are discussed.

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Article
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Exposure to maternal versus paternal partner violence, PTSD and aggression in adolescent girls and boys

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

Adolescents who witness interparental violence (IPV) are at increased risk for perpetrating aggressive acts. They are also at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this study, we examined the relation between exposure to maternal vs. paternal physical IPV and adolescent girls' and boys' aggressive behavior toward mothers, fathers, friends, and romantic partners. We also assessed the influence of PTSD (as assessed by the Diagnostic Interview for Children and Adolescents-IV (DICA-IV)) on the relation between exposure to IPV and aggressive behavior. Participants were 63 girls and 49 boys, ages 13-18, consecutively admitted to a youth correctional facility or assessment facility designated to serve aggressive and delinquent youth. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate unique relations between exposure to maternal vs. paternal IPV and youth aggression in relationships. Girls who observed their mothers' aggressive behavior toward partners were significantly more aggressive toward friends. Similarly, boys who witnessed their fathers' aggression were significantly more aggressive toward friends. Adolescent girls and boys who observed aggression by mothers toward partners reported significantly higher levels of aggression toward their romantic partners. Approximately one third of our sample met PTSD criteria; the relation between exposure to parental IPV and aggression was stronger for individuals who met criteria for PTSD. The implications of understanding the relations between parents' and their daughters' and sons' use of aggression are discussed within the context of providing support for families in breaking intergenerational patterns of violence and aggression.

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Article
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Preface: Sex differences in the functions and precursors of adolescent aggression

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

This volume provides a glimpse into the types of models and research questions that may contribute to our understanding of how best to interpret sex differences in adolescent aggression. In one study the authors contend that, despite changes in how aggression is expressed, the function of aggression remains fixed-to control and dominate relationships through aggressive acts and intimidation. While boys were expected to perpetrate more aggression toward peers than girls, sex differences were not observed in romantic relationships. Pepler's findings are consistent with patterns of domestic violence that have been widely documented during adulthood but only recently investigated in adolescent relationships. Another author raises important questions regarding sex differences in factors that may moderate the rewards (e.g., social status) for adolescents who engage in aggressive behavior. Using self-reports of perceived benefits and costs of physical and relational aggression, Leadbeater et al. found that the benefits of aggressive behavior in terms of perceived social status were similar for boys and girls, but the costs were not: aggressive boys were more likely than girls to be victimized themselves.

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Article
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The relation of psychopathy to concurrent aggression and antisocial behavior in high-risk adolescent girls and boys

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

The present study examined the concurrent relationship between psychopathy characteristics as measured by the PCL:YV and aggressive and antisocial behavior in a sample of 142 high-risk adolescent girls and boys. The unique relationship between each of three PCL:YV factors (Arrogant and Deceitful Interpersonal Style, Deficient Affective Experience, and Impulsive and Irresponsible Behavioral Style) and outcomes was evaluated to determine which aspects of psychopathy are most crucially linked to aggressive and antisocial behavior in adolescents. Dependent measures were expanded to include both relational and physical forms of aggression to better capture meaningful outcomes for girls and boys. Regression analyses showed that the relationships between psychopathic features and outcomes were equivalent for boys and girls, and that deficits in affect were most consistently associated with aggression. These findings are concordant with the well established finding in developmental research showing that deficits in empathy and affect regulation are associated with aggression.

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Article
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