The Relationship between Anger Rumination and Aggression in Typically Developing Children and High-Risk Adolescents

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This paper examines anger rumination as a risk factor of aggression in typically developing children and high-risk adolescents. Study 1 developed and evaluated the psychometric properties of a self-report measure of children's anger rumination (Children's Anger Rumination Scale; CARS) and its association with teacher- and peer-rated overt and relational aggression in school-aged children (n = 254, M age = 10.62). Findings offered support for the reliability and validity of the CARS as well as support for the hypothesis that children who ruminate to anger exhibit elevated levels of overt and relational aggression. Study 2 examined concurrent and prospective relationships between anger rumination and aggression and the moderating effects of trait anger in a sample of male juvenile offenders (n = 119, M age = 16.74). Latent growth curve analyses revealed that the interaction between trait anger and anger rumination predicted initial levels of aggression (i.e., intercept) and changes in aggression over time (i.e., slope). Juvenile offenders who were high in trait anger and ruminated in response to anger exhibited the highest initial levels of aggression. Contrary to our hypothesis, this group did not exhibit greater increases in aggression over time relative to others, but instead they had stably high levels of aggression at each time point. These findings suggest that cognitive-behavioral treatment strategies for aggression may be improved by educating youths about the contributory role of anger rumination in the development of aggression and providing them with adaptive alternatives to coping with feelings of anger.

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Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment





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