The study of aggression in juvenile offenders, a high priority from clinical and public health standpoints, depends on properly measuring and modeling aggression. The Aggressive Behaviors scale from the Youth Self-Report (YSR–AB) has been widely used to measure youth aggression, often functioning as a stand-alone scale in analyses (of note, even when analyzed alone, the YSR–AB must be administered as part of the full YSR to retain its integrity). However, knowledge of its factor analytic structure among juvenile offenders is lacking. We addressed this gap. Factor analyses of YSR–AB data from 310 probation youth (M age = 16 years, 90% African American, 66% male) supported a hierarchical structure, with 2 lower order factors distinguishing aggression targeting others (e.g., physical attack) from related symptoms (e.g., mood swings). The targeted aggression items showed significantly stronger associations with other externalizing symptoms than did the related symptom items; the opposite pattern emerged for internalizing symptoms. In further support of the convergent and discriminant validity of these subscales, the related symptoms were differentially linked to gender, with females reporting significantly higher levels than males. The hierarchical solution appeared to be stable over 1 year. Implications for interpreting past findings and conducting future research with the YSR–AB are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis