The Codevelopment of Sympathy and Overt Aggression from Middle Childhood to Early Adolescence

Zuffianò, Antonio and Colasante, Tyler and Buchmann, Marlis and Malti, Tina (2017) The Codevelopment of Sympathy and Overt Aggression from Middle Childhood to Early Adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 54 (1). pp. 98-110. ISSN 0012-1649 (Accepted for Publication)

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We assessed the extent to which feelings of sympathy and aggressive behaviors co-developed from 6 to 12 years of age in a representative sample of Swiss children (N = 1,273). Caregivers and teachers reported children's sympathy and overt aggression in three-year intervals. Second-order latent curve models indicated general mean-level declines in sympathy and overt aggression over time, although the decline in sympathy was relatively small. Importantly, both trajectories were characterized by significant inter-individual variability. A bivariate second-order latent curve model revealed a small–moderate negative correlation between the latent slopes of sympathy and overt aggression, suggesting an inverse co-developmental relationship between the constructs from middle childhood to early adolescence. In terms of predictive effects, an autoregressive cross-lagged model indicated a lack of bidirectional relations between sympathy and overt aggression, underscoring the primacy of the variables’ rank-order stability. We discuss the co-development and developmental relations of sympathy and aggression, their potential conjoint social-emotional mechanisms, and the practical implications thereof.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: © 2017, American Psychological Association. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the final, authoritative version of the article. Please do not copy or cite without authors permission. The final article is available, via its DOI: 10.1037/dev0000417
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Antonio Zuffiano
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 14:44
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2018 09:42

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