Attention and social problem solving as correlates of aggression in preschool males

Karen R. Gouze*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


This study examined the relationship between two cognitive processing variables-attention and social problem solving-and aggression in preschoolage boys. The 43 participants were administered two selective attention tasks that assess children's tendency to focus on aggressive versus cooperative social situations, the Preschool Interpersonal Problem Solving Test developed by Shure and Spivack, and the information and block design subtests of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence. Aggressive behavior was measured by teacher ratings and observational data. Results indicated that, in contrast to their nonaggressive peers, aggressive preschool boys tend to focus their attention on aggressive social interactions in their environment. They also provide aggressive solutions to hypothetical interpersonal conflict situations more often than their less aggressive peers. Intelligence does not appear to play a mediating role in these relationships. Implications of these results for understanding and remediating aggressive behavior in young boys are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-197
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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