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Aggressive Behaviour and Social Problem-Solving Strategies: A Review of the Findings of a Seven-Year Follow-Up From Childhood to Late Adolescence

NCJ Number
Criminal Behavior and Mental Health Volume: 11 Issue: 4 Dated: 2001 Pages: 236-250
Liisa Keltikangas-Jarvinen
Date Published
15 pages
This article presents an exploration of the development of social skills from childhood to late adolescence, examined over a 7-year period.
Focusing on aggressive behavior, this article presents the results of a 7-year study of the development of social skills from childhood to late adolescence. Arguing that aggressive behavior is a substantial social problem, the authors conducted a long-term study on aggression, the development of social skills, and underlying problem-solving strategies. Based on peer evaluations, 120 “aggressive” students and 120 “social” students in Western Finland were selected as participants in this study. Initially, students’ aggressiveness, sociability, and problem-solving strategies were measured based on peer ratings. Three years later, students were rated by their teachers. And, at the last 3-year mark, students were assessed through the use of a questionnaire. Results of this study indicate that, initially, the strategies of aggressive and sociable children were different, with more sociable children able to better analyze causality and aggressive children unable to find alternatives to aggression. Three years later, aggressive students applied aggressive strategies systematically over various social situations and in various steps in problem-solving. At the last 3-year increment, the aggressive students remained aggressive and approved of the use of aggression for problem-solving. The authors conclude that aggressive behavior is stable, emphasizing early aggression prevention. The authors argue that parents need to be educated about their children’s behavior and that peers influence children’s behavior because the strategies a child uses are dependent on their social acceptance. Table, references