Attention problems mediate the association between severity of physical abuse and aggressive behavior in a sample of maltreated early adolescents

Edward F. Garrido, Heather N. Taussig, Sara E. Culhane, Tali Raviv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Empirical evidence has accumulated documenting an association between childhood physical abuse and aggressive behavior. Relatively fewer studies have explored possible mediating mechanisms that may explain this association. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether caregiver- and youth-reported attention problems mediate the association between physical abuse severity and aggressive behavior. A sample of 240 maltreated early adolescents (ages 9-11) and their caregivers were interviewed within 14 months of being removed from the home. Results from multiple regression analyses indicated that caregiver- and youth-reported attention problems were partial mediators of the association between physical abuse severity and aggressive behavior. These associations were significant even after controlling for children's intellectual functioning, sex, age, and severity of other maltreatment types. Possible explanations for the detrimental impact of physical abuse on behavior are discussed, along with the implications of the current study's results for interventions aimed at reducing early adolescent aggressive behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)714-734
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Early Adolescence
Volume31
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Keywords

  • abuse severity
  • aggressive behavior
  • attention problems
  • maltreatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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