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A ggre ssiv e B eh avio r i n C hild hood a n d E a rl y A d ol e scen ce: A n E co lo gic al- D evelo pm en ta l P ers p ectiv e o n Y o uth V io le n ce M ark W . F ra ser Thi s article re views recent resea rch on the development o f a gg re s sive b ehavio r in c h ild hood a nd e arly a dole sce nce u sin g a n e co lo gic a l p ers p ectiv e th at fo c u s e s o n s o cia l d eve lo pm ent in t h e fa m ily , s ch ool, p eer g ro up, a nd c o m m u nit y . S pecia l e m phasis i s p la ce d o n f a m ily p ro cesses a n d e a rly c h ild hood p eer r e la tio n s t h at a ppear to tip developmental tra j ectories toward social rejection at s c hool and use of aggression to achieve social goals in interpersonal relationships . The article disc u sses implications for preventing youth violence . K e y w ord s: a g g r e ssi v e b ehavio r; c h ild d eve lo p m e nt; d elin quency ; e co lo gic a l th eory ; v io le nce I T io le nce is a m a j o r s o cia l a nd h ealt h p ro ble m t h at a ff e cts l a rg e n um bers o f c h ild re n a nd f a m ilie s .

T e enagers a cco unt fo r o nly 1 0 p er cent of the population , but they are victims in n early 2 5 p erc e nt o f a ll v io le nt c rim es ( A lle n H agen & S ic km und, 1 993 ; M oone, 1 994). A l t h ough o nly a bout o ne in f iv e v i o l e nt c rim es i s c o m mit te d b y a y o uth , y o uth s h ave b eco m e m ark e dly m ore i n vo lv e d i n v io le nt a cts o ve r t h e p ast d eca de ( S nyd er & S ic km und , 1 995 ) .

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B etw een 1 984 a nd 1 993 , t h e n um ber o f j u ve nile s a rre ste d f o r m urd er r o se 1 68 p erc e nt , a nd w eapons v io la tio ns r o se 1 26 p erc e nt ( C hild re n’ s D efe nse F und , 1 995) .

O n t h e b asis o f s e lf – r e port a nd v ic tim iz a tio n d ata , i t i s n ot c le ar w heth er y o uth s a re f ig htin g m ore th an i n t h e p ast. B ut i t i s c le ar th at t h eir f ig hts a re r e su lt in g m ore o fte n i n i n ju ry a nd d eath because of the use of firearms ( Rosenberg, 1995 ) .

T he c o nve rg ence o f y o uth fu l i m puls iv it y , t h e g ro w in g a va ila bilit y o f h andguns , t h e d eclin in g s o cio eco nom ic c o ndit io ns o f m any fa m ili e s , a nd the emergence of street subcultures based on c ra ck a nd o th er i llic it d ru gs h as m ade a dole sce nce far deadlier . The problem is widespread , and al though data suggest that there are important dif ferences by race and ethnicity , sex , and region (in c lu din g u rb an v e rs u s r u ra l ) , v io le nce t o uch es m any f a m ilie s a nd c o m munit ie s ( f o r r e vie w s , s e e F ra se r, 1 995 ; P ro th ro w – S tit h , 1 995 ) . T he p ro ble m m ay g et w ors e .

I n th e e arly 1 980s b ir th r a te s d eclin ed a nd th e s iz e o f th e te enage birth cohort grew smaller , so there were fewer c h ild re n a t r is k – p ro ne a ges fo r d elin quency a nd violence . This is about to change , because birth r a te s a r e o n t h e r is e . O ve r t h e n ext 1 0 y e ars , t h e n um ber o f t e enagers in th e p opula t io n w il l in c re ase b y a ppr o xim a t e ly 2 2 p erc e nt ( K ra uss, 1 994 ; R eno, 1 995) .

T hus, e ve n i f t h e r a te a t w h i c h i t o c c u rs d oes n ot c h ange, th e s e eds h ave b een s o w n f o r i n cre ase s i n y o uth v io le nce . C CC C ode :

0 037 – 8 046 / 9 6 $ 3 .

0 0 © 1 996 National Association of Social W orkers , Inc . 3 4 7 failure rates are high when children enter treat m ent b eca use o f a ggre ssiv e b ehavio r ( H enggele r, 1989; Kazdin, 1987, 1995). The development of new service strategies to treat aggressive behavior i n c h ild hood a nd e arly a dole sce nce is a m ajo r n a tio nal c h alle nge.

N ew s tr a te gie s a re n eeded b oth to im pro ve t h e e ff e ctiv e ness o f e xis tin g p ro gra m s a nd to a ddre ss th e g ro w in g y o uth v io le nce p ro b lem. Although there are many perspectives on yout h viol ence (for example, social control, label ing, strain, psychoanalytic, and Marxist theories), this article discusses the etiology of aggressive be havior and violence from an ecological-develop m enta l p ers p ectiv e a nd d escrib es th e im plic a tio ns of recent research for strengthening early inter vention services for children and their families. U se o f p hysic a l fo rc e in s u ch a w ay t h at it p ro d uce s in ju ry o r d eath — perh aps t h e s im ple st d efi nition of violence-encompasses a wide range of a cts , i n clu din g c h ild a buse , g ang fig h tin g, h ate crimes, sexual assault, spouse battering, suicide, terrorism, and war (Fraser , 1995). To be sure, in stitut ions al so engage in acts that injure or kill ( fo r e xa m ple , th e d um pin g o f to xic w aste s). T he f o cu s o f th is a rtic le , h ow eve r, is o n s tr e et c rim e, a t y p e o f v io le nce th at in clu des fig htin g; u se o f handguns or other weapons to resolve disputes; murder; and predatory acts such as aggravated a ssa ult , r a pe, a nd r o bbery . V iolen t be havi or of this nature rarely develops s p onta neously . It o fte n h as r o ots in e arly c h ild h ood. N ot s u rp ris in gly , v io le nt b ehavio r a ppears to be relatively stable for ch ild ren who become a ggre ssiv e a t a n e arly a ge. M ore ove r, e arly a ggre s s iv e b ehavio r h as a s tr o n g a nd s ig nif ic a nt r e l a t io n ship with long-term life outcomes, including the development of criminal careers where phys i cal force is used routinely (Elliott, 1994; Farrington, Loeber , et al., 1993; Nagin & Farrington, 1992). Recent research suggests that a small percent a ge o f fa m ilie s a cco unt fo r a d is p ro portio nate ly la rg e v o lu m e o f v io le nce .

E arly o ff e nders a re lik e ly to come from fa mili es in which assaultive and p re dato ry b ehavio r r u ns a cro ss g enera tio ns ( F arrin gto n, L oeber, e t a l. , 1 993). In ju ve nile ju s tic e , a s m all n um ber o f y o uth s a cco unt fo r a d is p ro portio nate ly la rg e v o lu m e o f o ff e nse s a gain st people and property (Elliott, 1994). These chil d re n a nd th eir f a m ilie s u se a la rg e p erc e nta ge o f resources in the child welfare, mental health, and juvenile just i ce fields (Henggeler & Borduin, 1990). And although some children stop serious a ggre ssiv e b ehavio r a s th ey m atu re a nd o th ers a re h elp ed b y tr e atm ent, m any w ho a vo id d eep in v o lv e m ent in th e c o urt s yste m s g o o n to le ad liv e s c h ara cte riz e d b y h eavy d rin kin g, p oly d ru g u se , s e xu al p ro m is cu it y , r e ckle ss d riv in g , m arit a l v io le nce , a nd o ccu patio nal m arg in alit y ( E llio tt, 1 994; Farrington, Loeber , et al., 1993). It i s a bleak picture, and the long-term price of v io lence is incalculably high. Cost s to victims of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and lost pro ductivity plus direct costs to the justice sy s tem are estimated to exceed $60 billion annually (Roth & Moore, 1995). Moreover , even with treatment, the prognosis for many v i olent children and their families is poor (Prothrow-Stith, 1995). Across b oth c o m munit y -b ase d a nd r e sid entia l s e rv ic e s, S ocia l D evelo pm en t a n d E arly A g g re ssio n A c h ild ‘s s o cia l d eve lo pm ent is d eeply r o ote d in o pportu nit ie s, s kills , a nd r e co gnit io n th at a ccru e t h ro ugh e arly in te ra ctio ns w it h fa m ily m em bers , peers, teachers, neighbors, ministers, coaches, and many others (for example, Catalano & Hawkins, 199 6 ; Hawkins, Catalano, & Associates, 1992). Throughout the life course, successful family , school, and work experiences have bases in early childhood opportunities for social participation a nd th e d eve lo pm ent o f a b ro ad r a nge o f s o cia l and cognit i ve skills that promote building attach m ents to o th er c h ild re n a nd a dult s . If, b eca use o f s o cia l o r e co nom ic c o ndit io ns, c h ild re n la ck o p p ortu nit ie s f o r a nd r o l e m odels o f s u cce ssfu l s o cial participation, they may be seriously disadvan t a ged in d eve lo pin g s kills th at w ill p ro m ote s u cce ss in s ch ool, w ork , a nd o th e r lif e s e ttin gs. An ecological-developmental perspective fo c u se s o n o pportu nit ie s fo r p osit iv e s o cia l p artic i p atio n a nd s kills to p ro m ote b uild in g s u cce ssfu l relationships with peers and adults who are com mitted to convent ional lines of action (T olan, G uerra , & K endall, 1 995). A s M aas ( 1 986 ) a rg ued, a n e co deve lo pm enta l v ie w e m phasiz e s the processes through which people become in creasingly able to interact competently and re sponsibly—that is, with recognition of others’ n eeds— in a n in cre asin g a rra y o f s o cia l c o nte xts . The greater the number of context s with which people can cope, the fewer the situations in w hic h th ey a re o ve r w h elm ed b y fe elin gs o f h elp lessness and stress. The more often they engage in socially respons i ve interaction, the more likely Social Work / V olume 41, Number 4 / July 1996 3 4 8 * 2 ! !

! :. A RIEMU I , ” !..

– San t h ey a re to h elp to g enera te o r s u sta in a c a rin g and sharing society . (p. 3) From this perspective, youth violence is seen as t h e r e su lt o f a n im pove ris h ed o pportu nit y s tr u c ture, inadequate training in critical social and cog nitive skills, the perception that there is social and concrete ut ility i n aggressive behavior , and the lack of indigenous rewards for prosocial activities in the social environment. Longitudinal studies in Colorado, Hawaii, New Y ork , O re gon, P ennsylv a n i a , W ash in gto n, a nd other states and countries af ford increasingly vivid g lim pse s o f th e e co lo gic a l c o ndit io ns t h at d is ru pt social development and increase risk for ungov e r n ab i l it y , d e l i n quency, s u bsta nce a buse , a nd v io lence (Brook, Whiteman, & Finch , 1992; Dishion, Patterson, Stoolmiller , & Skinner, 1991; Elliott, 1994; Hawkins, Catalano, Morrison, e t al. , 1992; L oeber e t a l. , 1 993; T horn berry , L iz o tt e , K ro hn, Farnworth, & Jang, 1994; W erner, 1992). Many of t h ese s tu die s a re d is tin guis h ed b y o ve rs a m plin g o f c h ild re n fr o m lo w -in co m e a re as o r fr o m a v a rie ty of ethnic backgrounds. Many of the studie s al so i n clu de la rg e n um bers o f f e m ale s u bje cts , e nsu r ing that tests for gender di f ferences can be made and, if warranted, separate developmental models constructed for girls and boys (for example, Tremblay et al., 1992).

Unlike clinical studies of conduct disorder , where biological involvement may be comparatively greater , or studies of schoolchildren in suburban communities, where the incidence of serious aggressive behavior may be low , these longitud inal st u dies help elucidate the developmental processes and enviro nmental conditions that lead to aggressive behavior in chil d re n fr o m a v a rie ty o f b ackg ro unds. F urth er, th ey p ro vid e i m porta nt c lu es a bout h ow s e rv ic e s m ig ht be refined for work with children whose behavior i s h ostile a nd a gg r e ssiv e . parental supervision of children, use of harsh pun ishm ent, failure to set limits, neglect in re warding prosocial behavior , and a coercive style of parent-child interaction (Patterson, Capaldi, & B ank, 1 991). W hen a n o pposit io nal c h ild e n g ag e s i n a n a ggre ssiv e b ehavio r, m ost p are nts w ill i n te r v e ne. H ow eve r, d eve l o pm en ta l r e se arc h s h ow s t h at s o m e p are nts d o n ot in te rv e n e c o nsis te ntly . Moreover , when they do intervene, it is often w ith excessive force and negative af fect. They yell, t h re ate n, g ra b, p ush , y a nk, a nd h it to c o erc e c h il dren into comp lian ce. Although fa mil ies that use th i s style of coercive c h ild m anagem ent o fte n h ave m any s tr e ngth s, children in these homes learn poor problem solving skills from their parents (Patterson, 1982; W eiss, Dodge, Bates, & Pettit, 1992). When faced with an undesired request (for example, “Please t u rn o ff th e T V ”), c h ild re n r e sp ond m im etic a lly w it h y e llin g, th re ate nin g, g ra bbin g, c ry in g, s to m p ing of feet, hitting, and otherwise escalated behav i o r to a ch ie ve a d esir e d g oal ( fo r e xa m ple , k e epin g t h e T V tu rn ed o n). M ore s killf u l p are nts a t s u ch a p oin t w ill ta ke d ecis iv e a nd p re em ptiv e a ctio n ( fo r example, time-out or loss of a privilege). But par ents who employ a coercive style of discipline and who may be overcome by enviro nmental stresses such as poverty , simply worn out from trying to make ends meet by working multiple jobs, or incapacitated by the abuse of psychoactive s u bsta nce s a re m ore l ik e ly to w it h dra w , g iv e a neutral response, or passively grant consent. T his a ppears to b e a c o m mon p are ntin g p at tern in homes where children are aggressive and defiant: When they do not respond with dispro p ortio n a l f o rc e , p are nts a cq uie sce ( P atte rs o n, 1 992 ). B eca use c o erc io n i s m o d ele d a nd a cq uie s cence frequently fo ll ows a child’s protestations (for example, “I won’t turn of f the TV! You can’t make me!”), children learn that aggression pays o ff , th at i t h as s o cia l a nd s o m etim es c o ncre te u til ity .

Parental acquiescence rewards a child’s ag gressive reaction and increases the chances that he or she will use similar strategies in subsequent in t e ra ctio ns. B y r e actin g to a p are nta l r e que st w it h an aggressive response that is modeled on parental problem solving, the child escapes punishment (hence the name “escape conditioning”), controls t h e s o cia l e xch ange, a nd c o ntin ues d esir e d b ehav i ors (Patterson, 1995). In short, aggressive behav ior becomes rewarding for children in f amili es w here p are nts e m plo y a c o erc io n-a cq uie sce nce F a m ily E nvi r o nm en t P erh aps m ore th an a ny o th er s e ttin g in th e s o cia l e co lo gy o f c h ild hood, c o ndit io ns, p ro ce sse s, a nd experiences in the family shape the behavior of children. From a family perspective, emerging re s e arc h s u ggests th at c h ild re n in s o m e h om es a re t r a in ed, lit e ra lly b ut u nin te ntio nally , to r e sp ond t o a uth orit y w it h h ostilit y ( P atte rs o n, D eB ary sh e, & R am se y, 1 989; R eid & P atte rs o n, 1 989). C entr a l to th e s e quence o f e ve nts th at r e in fo rc e s a ggre ssio n in s o m e fa m i l i e s is in co nsis te nt F ra se r / A g g r e s s iv e B ehavio r in C hild hood a nd E arly A dole sce nce 3 49 style of child management (Dishion, Andrews, & C ro sb y, 1 995; D odge, B ate s, & P ettit , 1 990 ). F or c h ild re n w ho h ave h ig h b io lo gic a l r is k ( th ro ugh, f o r e xa m ple , e xp osu re to le ad) o r w ho a re u nusu a lly p ro vo ca tiv e a s a r e su lt o f a tte ntio n d efic it o r o th er d is o rd ers , th is p atte rn o f p are nt- c h ild i n te r a ctio n m a y e xa ce rb ate c o nduct p ro ble m s. W it h out in te rv e ntio n, th is p atte rn is t h ought to generalize from minor , developmentally ex p ecte d o pposit io n to in cre asin gly s e rio us n on c o m plia nce a nd a ggre ssiv e b ehavio r ( P atte rs o n, 1992; Patterson, Reid, & Dishion, 1992). More o ve r, it m ay g enera liz e fr o m h om e to s ch ool, where it becomes part of a child’s social repertoire w it h p eers a nd te ach ers . F ro m th is p ers p ectiv e , parents unintentionally train their children to use aggression to achieve social goals. Although they may not realize that they are doing it, and al though they are deeply troubled by their child’s i n cre asin g d efia nce , th ey p re pare th e c h ild to r e – . spond to authority with aggression. This gives m any y o ung c h ild re n a n e arly s ta rt to w ard a n a g g re ssiv e , c o nfr o nta tio n al, a nd p ote ntia lly v io le nt in te rp ers o nal s ty le ( P atte rs o n , 1 995; P atte rs o n, Crosby , & Vuchinich, 1992). S ocia l C on s eq uen ces o f E arly A ggre ssio n From toddlerhood through adolescence, confron t a tio n w it h a uth orit y a nd a ggre ssiv e b ehavio r h ave s e rio us c o nse q uence s ( F arrin gto n, 1 991 ; Farrington, Loeber , & Van Kammen, 1990; L oeber, 1 996; L oeber, S to uth am er-L oeber, V an Kammen, & Farrington, 1991). Although more life course research is needed, early physical ag gression and conflict with authority are often as s o cia te d w it h th e i n i t ia t io n o f d elin quency a nd, for some children, with behavior that esca l ates f r o m m in or to s e rio us o ff e nse s. A t th e s a m e tim e, r e ductio ns in a ggre ssio n a nd o pposit io nal b ehav ior are associated with reductions over time in delinquent beh avi or (Loeber et al. , 1991). Many children who are ungovernable and delin quent have histories of coercive, intimidating so cial relations that begin in early years and that l im it s o cia l o pportu nit ie s w i t h o th er c h ild re n a nd a dult s ( K upers m id t & C oie , 1 99 0). E arly p la y a nd friend making often demonstrate this pattern. In the eyes of elementary school children, some ag gressive acts warrant social censure, whereas oth ers do not. From a series of multicultural studies, r e se arc h ers h ave d escrib ed tw o b asic ty p es o f a g gression, each eliciting a dif ferent response from c h ild re n ( D odge, 1 991). “ R eactiv e ” a ggre ssio n involves the defensive use of force. When children a re p erc e iv e d a s d efe ndin g t h em se lv e s, th ey a re usually viewed positively by their peers. In con trast,“proactive” aggression is defined as the n ondefe nsiv e u se o f fo rc e . W hen c h ild re n in it ia te proactive aggressive contact, it is viewed nega t iv e ly b y p eers . C hild re n w ho a re p ro activ e ly a g g re ssiv e r e gard p hysic a lly c o erc iv e a cts a s s o cia lly e ff e ctiv e . T hey c o nsid er it n orm al to e m plo y f o rc e to o bta in th e u se o f a to y, s w in g s e at, w agon, o r te ete r-to tte r. T hey u se a gg r e ssio n a nd c o erc io n to m eet in str u m enta l g oals ( D odge & C oie , 1 987 ) . C om poundin g m atte rs , s o m e a ggre ssiv e c h il d re n a r e s i m ply b ullie s. B eyo nd th e s tr a te gic u se of aggression to get the things that they want, they use aggre ssi on to establish soc ial dominan ce ( O lw eus, 1 993a). W heth er b oy o r g ir l, b ullie s u se force both to obtain social position and to secure d esir e d o bje cts ( S harp & S m it h , 1 994). P ro activ e a ggre ssio n o f b oth th e i n str u m enta l a nd b ully in g ty p es le ads to in cre a sin g p eer r e je ctio n ( N ew co m b, B uko w ski, & P atte e, 1 993; P ark e r & A sh er, 1 98 7 ) a nd is o la te s c h ild re n fr o m p ro so cia l p eers . R eje ctio n, h ow eve r, a ppears to v a ry b y a ge. A f t e r a s e rie s o f s tu die s in vo lv in g s a m ple s t h at in cluded many children from low-income and di verse ethnic backgrounds, Coie, Dodge, Terry , a nd W rig h t ( 1 991) c o nclu ded, “ [F ro m th e b egin ning years of school, children actively dislike in s tr u m enta l a ggre ssio n in p eers a nd w ill r e je ct those children who use instrumental aggression at the outset of establishing new relationships” ( p. 8 21). For first graders, reactive aggression and b ully in g m ay b e p art a nd p arc e l o f e sta blis h in g a social order (Bierman, Smoot, & Aumiller , 1993; Boulton & Underwood, 1992; Olweus, 1993a). Although instrumental aggression results in peer rejection, reactive and bullying aggression are more common in the early years of school, and somewhat surprisingly , they do not encounter the s a m e le ve l o f s o cia l c e nsu re ( s e e a ls o C oie , D odge, & Kupersmidt, 1990; Feldman & Dodge, 1987). By the second and third grades, children appear t o d em and m ore s o cia l c o m pete nce o f th eir f r ie nds (Dodge, Coie, Pettit, & Price, 1990; Feldman, & Dodge, 1987; Kupersmidt & Patterson, 1991; Underwood, Coie, & Herbsman, 1992). A mong s o cia lly a cce pte d c h ild re n, p ro b l e m s o lv in g w ith l e ss r e so rt to p hysic a l c o erc io n is e xp ecte d. Among children who are rejected by their peers, a ggre ssio n is m ore lik e ly t o b e u se d to a ch ie ve S o cia l W ork / V o lu m e 4 1, N um ber 4 / J u ly 1 996 3 50 i 1 1 social goals ( Bierman et al. , 1993 ) .

In addition , clear that there is much individual variation in the rejected children are more likely to escalate ag – pathways that lead from early childhood aggres gression when they are the target of aggressive acts sive behavior to violence, this combination of a such as teasing or taunting. They are quick to weak or inadequate home life , poor school ad fight and slow to employ negotiation , bargaining, justment , and rejection by peers i s som etimes and other forms of problem solving. For girls as called the “Early Starter ” model (Loeber et al ., well as boys , the result is increasing rejection by 1993; Patterson , 1992 , 1995 ; Patterson & Y oerger , other children. Thus, aggressive behavior has the 1993 ) .

c o nse quence o f i s o la tin g c h ild re n f r o m le arn in g opportunities in socially skilled peer groups and , Aggressive Behavior in Early Adolescence because children are then beyond the influence of In contrast to aggressive behavior that emerges p ro so cia l p eer g ro ups, o f in cre asin g th e r is k o f e arly i n c h ild hood , a ggre ssiv e b ehavio r t h at b egin s subsequent problems in the school and commu – i n e arly o r m id dle a dole sce nce a ppears t o h ave n it y ( C oie , L och m an, T e rry , & H ym an, 1 992; s o m ew hat m ore d iv e rs e r o ots . S om etim es c a lle d K upers m id t , C oie , & D odge, 1 990 ) . t h e “ L ate S ta rte r ” m odel , i t i s o fte n m ark e d m ore d ir e ctly b y t h e i n flu ence o f c o nte xtu al a nd s ys O th er F acto r s i n t e m ic f a cto rs o uts id e t h e fa m E arly A ggre ssio n i ly ( P atte rs o n , 1 992; P atte rs o n A lt h ough fa m ily fa cto rs a nd & Yoerger , 1993 ; Simons , W u , p eer r e je ctio n a re i n vo lv e d i n A g g r e s s iv e b eh avio r h a s Conger , & Lorenz , 1994) , in much aggressive be havior , t h e c o nse quence o f c lu din g s ch ool , n e i g hborh ood, e xtr a fa m i l ia l a nd u niq ue p er a nd p eer c o nd i ti o ns s u ch a s s o nal c o ndit io ns a ls o p re dis i s o la tin g c h ild re n f r o m host il e re l ations with teachers , p ose c h ild re n t o w ard c o erc iv e learning opport unities in p eer p re ssu re f o r e arly s e xu al and potentially violent means s o cia lly s kille d p eer g ro ups. activity , and involvement of achieving social goals (Brown , with a gang ( Bjerregaard & E sb enso n, & G eis , 1 991; R eis s S m it h , 1 993 ; C ern ko vic h & & R oth , 1 993; R utte r , 1 979 ) . In G io rd ano, 1 992 ) .

one of every five American families, normal child Separate from the family , school -related factors development is undermined by poverty . Poverty such as a teacher ‘ s grading practices , classroom d ecre ase s t h e e sse ntia l r e so urc e s n ece ssa ry fo r s o – m anagem ent s kills , a nd t e ach in g s tr a te gie s e xe rt c ia l d eve lo pm ent- s h elt e r , fo od, c lo th in g, a nd im porta nt e nvir o nm ent a l i n flu ence s o n a c h ild ‘s h ealt h c a re — and i n cre ase s s tr e sso rs th at i m pede bonding with school and his or her risk of devel ef fective parenting and problem solving. o pin g a ggre ssiv e b ehavio r in e arly a dole sce nce At the individual level , a host of constitutional ( O ‘ Donnell , Hawkins , & Abbott , 1995 ) . In the or biological conditions can af fect a child ‘ s capac – school, teaching practices delimit children’ s op ity to learn and respond to others in the social en – portunities for success in conforming activities. vironment. Such conditions include brain damage T eachers establish rules that guide the social inter and other neuropathology; imbalances of actions of children with other children and that n euro ch em ic a ls s u ch a s t h e n euro tr a nsm it te r s e – determine how rewards are given for academic rotonin ; imbalances of trace minerals ; imbalances achievement , including rewards for successful so of hormones such as testosterone; low IQ ; and cial participation in study , task , and project unremediated hyperactivity , impulsivity , and at – groups. Classroom practices that promote social tention deficit disorders ( for reviews , see Booth & development create many opportunities for s uc Osgood , 1993; Farrington, Loeber , et al. , 1993 ; cess and provide recognition for students of vary J o hnso n, 1 996 ) .

B eca use o f l e arn in g im pair m ents , ing abilities an d backgrounds ( Of fice of Juvenile children may be tracked from early childhood Justice and Delinquency Prevention , 1995). Class i n to c ir c u m sta nce s t h at i n cre ase t h e r is k o f p oor r o om p ra ctic e s t h at l im it o pportu nit ie s a nd c o n s ch ool a dju stm ent a nd a ch ie ve m ent , a sso cia tio n strain recognition to a small number of students with aggressive or socially rejected children, and d o l it tle t o p ro m ote c o m mit m ent t o c o nve nt i o nal e arly e xp erim enta tio n w it h s e x a nd d ru gs ( L oeber | activities of those who are not rewarded and may et al .

, 1993; Reiss & Roth , 1993 ) . Although it is be as potentially damaging to social development Fraser / A gg ressive Behavior in Childhood and Early Adolescence 3 5 1 ..

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. S liv e a s c o erc iv e p are ntin g. R ese arc h i n cre asin gly s h ow s th at th e s ch o ol c lim ate a nd te ach in g p ra ctic e s a re s tr o ngly r e la te d to c h ild re n’s e duca tio nal e xp ecta tio ns, c o m mit m ent to s ch o ol, a nd a ca dem ic a ch ie ve m ent a nd, in a la rg er s e nse , to th eir b ehav iors in the community (Haw ki ns et al., 1992; Hawkins, Catalano, Morrison, et al., 1992; O ‘D onnell e t a l. , 1 995).

F urth er, a t th e p eer a nd n e i g hborh ood l e ve ls , e co lo gic a l fa cto rs s u ch a s th e lo ca l s o cia l a nd economic infrastructure often delimit the learn i n g o pportu nit ie s a ff o rd ed c h ild re n. In a s tu dy o f 479 white and African American seventh-grade boys in Pittsburgh, Peeples and Loebe r (1994 ) found that the delinquent behavior of boys from low- i ncome neighborhoods did not dif fer by race or ethnicity once hyperactivity , parental supervi s io n, a nd n eig hborh ood c h ara cte ris tic s w ere c o n trolled. In this and other studies (for example, F arrin gto n, S am pso n, & W ik str o m , 1 993; K upers m id t, G rie sle r, D eR osie r, P atte rs o n, & Davis, 1995), neighborhood conditions appeared to exert an ef fect on behavior that was indepen dent of individual and family influences. For chil d re n w ho g ro w u p in n e i g hborh oods w here schools are weak (for example, under fi nanced with poorly trained staf fs and little community involvement), where opportunities for success in conventional activities are blocked, where adults a re c o m mit te d to illic it a ctiv it ie s, a nd w here gangs of fer alternative social roles and financial r e w ard s, v io le nce m ay b e a p ro duct o f a s o cia l c o nte xt in w hic h fo rc e a nd c o erc io n a re u se d routinely to resolve disputes and protect prop e rty . G ang-re la te d v io le nce , in p artic u la r, a ppears to be more strongly associated with local eco nomic, school, and peer factors than with biologi c a l a nd f a m ily fa cto rs ( K le in , 1 995; S perg el, 1 992, 1995). T hus, a ggre ssiv e b ehavio r th at b e gin s i n a do le sce nce is o fte n c h ara cte riz e d le ss b y fa m ily c h ar acteristics and more by failure at school, the pres e nce o f a n ille git im ate o pportu nit y s tr u ctu re , assoc iati on with delinquent peers, and in some communities the prestige and illicit money that r e w ard g ang m em bers h ip ( S im ons e t a l. , 1 994). Compared to the development of aggressive be havior that starts in early childhood, the social d eve lo pm ent o f a ggre ssiv e b ehavio r th at s ta rts in e arly a dole sce nce p re se n ts c h alle nges th at m ore directly involve many dif ferent systems—the s ch ool, th e p eer g ro up, a nd th e n eig hborh ood. Preventing Youth V iolence: An Ecological D evelo pm en ta l P ers p ecti v e T o im pro ve r a te s o f s u cce ss in p re ve ntio n a nd early intervention, strategies must be developed to better address the full complexity of influences that lead to aggressive behavior in the social ecol ogy of childhood and early adolescence.

Because youth violence is highly correlated with early childhood defiance and aggression, intervention that stalls the development of early chi ld hood op p osit io nal a nd c o erc iv e b ehavio r m ay h ave p re ventive ef fects (Earle, 1995; Zigler , Taussig, & Black, 1992). Although early childhood aggressive behavior appears to have roots in fewer systems than aggressive behavior that emerges in adoles c e nce , n eit h er e arly n or la te a ggre ssio n h as a . single cause. And once in a child’s social reper toire, aggressive behavior af fects relat i onships at s ch ool a nd in th e p eer g ro up. T o be s ure, no set of local strategies is likely to change the broad societal conditions—poverty , racial discrimination, and media violence—that af fect large numbers of children and weaken so c ia l d eve lo pm enta l p ro ce sse s ( fo r r e vie w s, s e e Danish & Donohue, 1996; Hampton & Yung, 1996).

However , in the absence of major social and structural reforms (for example, Gil, 1996), recent research provides important clues for how t o c o nfig ure c o m munit y -b ase d y o uth v io le nce prevention programs. C om munit ie s A m ult ip le im pact s tr a te gy th at s yste m atic a lly a s sesses and targets a range of community factors that place children at risk should guide prevention and early intervention ef forts. Many dif ferent k in ds o f e ff o rts a re r e quir e d to p re ve nt y o uth v io lence, and no single “of f-the-shelf” strategy or p ro gra m c a n b e r e lie d o n a cro ss a ll c o m munit ie s. ( F or b rie f d escrip tio ns o f m ore th an 1 00 o ff – th e s h elf v io le nce p re ve ntio n p ro gra m s, s e e th e U .S .

Department of Justice, Partnership Ag ai nst V iolence web site at http: //w ww .usdoj.gov / pavnet.html.) Within the unique character and cond itions of individual communities, both the physical and social environmental factors that af fect children should be addressed. In some communities, children must be dis a rm ed. L aw s m akin g it ille gal fo r c h ild re n to c a rry h andguns m ay n eed to b e m ore v ig oro usly e n forced. In other communities, proble m-ori ented policing that focuses on “hot spots” of violence or S o cia l W ork / V olu m e 4 1, N um ber 4 / J u ly 1 996 352 MITTEE gang conflict may be needed. In the longer term , t h e s o cia l p ro ce sse s t h at p la ce c h ild re n a t r is k m ust b e a ddre sse d. I n te rv e ntio n f o r c h ild re n w ho d em onstr a te e arly a ggre ssiv e b ehavio r s h ould strengthen f amil ies and help children develop skills that promote successful relationships in pre school and elementary school ( Schweinhart , Barnes, & W eikart , 1993; Y oshikawa , 1994). Early i n te rv e ntio n fo r l a te – s ta rt a ggre ssiv e b ehavio r should also involve fam ilies but should take place in the context of broader ef fort s t o support chil dren across all developmental settings and to en gage children in prosocial peer groups . Although scholars and researchers speak in t e rm s o f e arly a nd l a te p ath w ays t o v io le nt b ehav ior , there appears to be a heterogeneity of devel opmental risk factors .

Recent research focuses less on time -invariant attributes or traits and mor e on dynamic processes in the environment. Building on an ecological-developmental perspective , find i n gs c a n b e u se d t o d esig n a nd m ark t h e s u cce ss of interventions .

This approach is beginning to r e ap r e w ard s i n f a m ily t r e atm ent ( B ord uin e t a l. , 1995 ; Dishion & Andrews , 1995 ), school reforms ( Hawkins et al., 1992; Hawkins, Catalano, M orris o n , e t a l. , 1 992 ; T re m bla y , P agani- K urtz , M asse , V it a ro , & P ih l, 1 995 ) , a nd p eer-re la te d skills training (Lochman , 1992 ) . But mounting ecologically and developmen tally based interventions is a complex undertaking b eca use r is k f a cto rs v a ry a cro ss a nd w i t h in c o m m unit ie s. I n a s tu dy o f 8 66 e le m enta ry – s ch ool b oys a nd g ir ls f r o m l o w – in co m e n eig hborh oods i n a la rg e m id w este rn c it y , fo r e xa m ple , G uerra , Huesmann , Tolan , V an Acker , and Eron ( 1995 ) found that poverty— a risk factor for many social problems -af fects dif ferent children dif ferently .

Across the entire sample , a significant zero- order r e la tio nsh ip b etw een p ove rty a nd a ggre ssio n washed out when controls for stress from life events ( for example , serious illness ) , stress from neighborhood violence ( for example, witnessing a shooting ), and beliefs approving the use of aggres sion ( for example, “ In general , it ‘ s OK to use vio lence.” ) were entered into regression equations . T hese fin din gs s u ggest th at p ove rty a ff e cts b ehav i o r t h ro ugh b oth s tr e ssfu l l if e e xp erie nce s a nd a c crued beliefs that support the use of physical force. However , the pattern was not the same for b oys a nd g ir ls .

M ore ove r , it w as s ig nif ic a ntly d if f e re nt f o r b oys a nd g ir ls fr o m d if f e re nt r a cia l a nd ethnic backgrounds. Neighborhood violence was a significant predictor across white ( n = 168 ) , His p anic ( n = 3 83 ) , a nd A fr ic a n A m eric a n ( n = 3 15 ) subgroups , but poverty exerted a direct ef fect on violence only for the white children . Aggressive normative beliefs was a s i gnificant predictor only for Hispanic children , whereas for African Ameri can children , a complex interaction between indi vidual and school-level poverty emerged. Such findings su gg est that the specific risks and s tr e ngth s ( s o m etim es c a lle d “ p ro te ctiv e f a cto rs ” ) in communities must be assessed a s a part of the interventive process, As Hawkins ( 1995 ) argued, using a social development perspective “calls for f ir s t i d entif y in g th e fa cto rs th at p ut y o ung p eople at risk for violence in order to reduce or e limi nate these factors and strengthen the protective factors that buf fer the ef fects of exposure to risk” ( p . 1 1). Building on the emerging cor e of l ongitudinal re search and on community risk assessments, inter ventions should be t ail ored to local dif ferences in the individual, family , school , and ne i ghborh oo d conditions that place children at risk of violence. In the spirit of community practice in social work, violence prevention initiatives must begin with b ro ad p artic ip ato ry p ro ble m s o lv in g . B ase d o n i n fo rm atio n a bout lo ca l r is k a nd p ro te ctiv e fa c tors, community residents develop a set of tac tics–such as increasing the number of commu nity policing of ficers or establishing programs for g ang “ w annabes”-th at m obiliz e r e so urc e s , r e d uce f e ar o f v ic tim iz a tio n , a nd a lt e r s o cia l d eve l o pm enta l p ro ce sse s f o r c h ild re n . Families Services should address family-related risk factors. A cro ss m any c o m munit ie s , c h anges i n s o cia l a nd economic conditions have dramatically af fected p are ntin g a nd s u pport s yste m s r e la te d t o e ff e ctiv e parenting . For many families , parental problem . solving and child management skills are the linch p in s in h elp in g c h ild re n d eve lo p p ro so cia l r e la tio n s h ip s w it h p eers a nd i n p re parin g c h ild re n w ith the skills to be successful in school ( Henggeler & Borduin , 1990, 1995; Kazdin, 1995). In the con text of family traditions and culture, family – cen tered activities should focus on lowering expres sive and incendiary parent-child interchanges, s e ttin g g ra duate d s a nctio ns fo r d efia nt b ehavio r, p ro vid in g e ff e ctiv e a lt e rn ativ e s t o h ars h d is cip lin e , a nd i n cre asin g c o nsis te ncy i n r e w ard in g d esir a ble b ehavio r a nd e nsu rin g c o nse quence s f o r a ggre s sive behavior ( Patterson , Dishion , & Chamberlain, F ra se r / A ggre ssiv e B ehavio r in C hild hood a nd E arly A dole sce nce 3 53 1 993). In c ir c u m sta nce s w here p are nts a re u nable to constrain their own abusive or illegal behavior , p ro te ctiv e a ctio n to p la ce c h ild re n in fo ste r o r group care may be required, but substitute care t o o s h oul d b e c h ara cte riz e d b y a fa m ily -c e nte re d a ppro ach , a nd lo ng-te rm , s ta ble , a nd s a fe l iv in g arrangements. | 1 991). R eco gnit io n o f d is cre pancie s b etw een g oals and behavior plus the development of a family s u pporte d p la n h elp b re ak th e s e lf – d efe atin g, negative belief systems that often build as a result o f s o cia l r e je ctio n, a ca dem ic m arg in alit y , a nd th e seductive messages of gang recruiters. Within the family , parents should be encouraged to actively support a child’s hope that positive change can occur in his or her life. Once engendered, the be lief that change can occur is thought to act as a secondary reinforcer for developing skills to pro mote success in the school environment (Grolnick & S lo w ia cze k, 1 994). S c hools S erv ic e s s h ould a ddre ss s ch ool- re la te d r is k fa c to rs . F or c o m m uni t ie s w here s ch ool- re la te d r is k factors are high, school-based prevention and e arly in te rv e ntio n s t r a te gie s s h ould b e d eve lo ped to promote children’s attachments to prosocial peers, involvement in school activities, and aca demic achievement. School strategies should strengthen a child’s skills for school involvement and academic achievement, promote involvement in school activities, and decrease truancy and school-related misconduct (Hawkins, Doueck, & Lishner , 19 8 8; Maguin & Loeber , 1996; O’Donnell, Hawkins, Catalano, Abbott, & Day , 1994). To he l p turn the school into a successful l if e s e ttin g fo r c h ild re n, s e rv ic e s s h ould b e d e s ig ned to p ro m ote h om e-s ch ool c o lla bora tio n, a ssis t p are nts in r e w ard in g c h ild re n’s d esir a ble school behaviors and (mildly) providing conse q uence s f o r d is ru ptiv e b ehavio rs , e nsu re th at a child who may be eligible for special assistance is p ro perly a sse sse d a nd a ssig ned, lo ca te c h ild re n who are truant (and assist in returning them to school or home), help students with homework, create opportunities for children to participate in s ch ool c lu bs o r s p orts ( a rra nge t r a nsp orta tio n a nd s u perv is io n), a nd m onit o r c h ild re n a t a fte r-s ch ool a ctiv it ie s ( K elle y & M cC ain , 1 995; K urtz & B arth , 1 989; M cM ahon & P ete rs , 1 990; P osn er & V andell, 1994). F or s o m e o ld er c h ild re n w hose b ehavio r i s i n fluenced by years of negative school experiences, these activities may not be enough. Changing the school into a successful experience for middle or high school youths may require addressing stu dents’ views of the v al ue of academic achievement a nd s e nse o f s e lf – e ff ic a cy a nd e nco ura gin g th eir b elie fs in th eir c a pacit y to b e e ff e ctiv e in th e s ch ool s e ttin g. If c h ild re n h ave l o ng-te rm c o nve n tio nal g oals ( fo r e xa m ple , t o o w n a b usin ess o r to become a clerk, doctor , social worker , or teacher), t h e d is cre pancy b etw een th ese g oals a nd c u rre nt behavior can be used as a motivational tool to le verage a plan for change (Miller & Rollnick, Peers Services should address peer-related risk factors. Street violence is often correlated with peer-re lated factors such as gang involvement or , in the a bse nce o f o rg aniz e d g angs, a sso cia tio n w it h p eers w ho h old f a vo ra ble a ttit u des to w ard p ro ble m b e havior . Peer-related strategies should be linked to family and sch ool i nterventions. Underpinning e ff o rts to h elp b oth e arly – a nd la te -s ta rt a ggre ssiv e c h ild re n, s e rv ic e s s h ou ld s tr e ngth en b onds o f a t ta ch m ent to p ro so cia l p eers ; w eake n n egativ e b e liefs and values, including the belief that violence is an ef fective means for achieving personal goals; and weaken bonds of attachment with peers who e m plo y a g g r e ssio n o r v io le nce in p ro ble m s o lv in g. F or e le m enta ry a nd m id dle -s ch ool c h ild re n, s e r vice plans should include developmentally appro p ria te s kills tr a in in g in p ro ce ssin g s o cia l in fo rm a t ion (Lochman & Dodge, 1994). In the context of family and neighborhood history , lore, culture, a nd t r a dit io n, th is s h ould in clu de tr a in in g in p ro cessing social cues, drawing appropriate infer e nce s a bout th e in te nt o f o th ers ‘ a ctio ns, i d entif y in g s it u atio n-s p ecif ic g oals , g enera tin g a lt e rn ativ e s o cia l r e sp o nse s, e va lu atin g th e l i k e ly o utc o m es o f responses, and enacting selected strategies (Crick & D odge, 1 994; F ra se r, 1 996). As has been done in some family-based service programs, parents should be encouraged to set peer-related treatment goals, make explicit their own (prosocial) beliefs and values, and define peer-focused interventions (Henggeler & Borduin, 1 990; H enggele r, M elt o n, & S m it h , 1 992). T o gether , the family might select settings and activi ties where children are likely to avoi d trouble. Parents should play a majo r role in identifying a ppro pria te a nd in appro pria te p eer b ehavio rs a nd i n a ppro vin g a c h ild ‘s p eers . If j o in in g a n ew p eer S ocia l W ork / V olu m e 4 1, N um ber 4 / J u ly 1 996 3 54 2 3 .

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. .. MOXIMARUL HAR T E VIT group becomes a treatment goal, a child’s strengths might be listed, a group that fits those strengths selected, and a strategy for approaching and j oin i n g th e g ro up d is cu sse d ( H enggele r, 1 994). In family-centered intervention, a peer-related focus may be as important in producing positive out comes as activities that focus explicitly on parents’ child management skills (personal communica t io n w it h S . W . H enggele r, p ro fe sso r a nd d ir e cto r, Family Services Research Center , Medical Univer sity of South Carolina, November 17, 1995). One of the enduring enigmas in focusing on the peer correlates of aggressive behavior is the problem of serving high-risk children in groups.

Research strongly suggests that the strategy of p la cin g a g g re ssiv e c h ild re n in g ro ups w it h o n e another promotes aggressive behavior (Dishion & Andrews, 1995; Feldman, Caplinger , & Wodarski, 1983). Moderately aggressive children appear to learn from more aggressive, dominant children..

Nevertheless, placing aggressive children together i n g ro ups is a c o m mon p ra ctic e in s ch ools , m enta l h ealt h c e nte rs , y o uth tr a in in g p ro gra m s, a nd other settings. Ef forts are needed to engineer new g ro up w ork a ppro ach es th at a vo id p la cin g a ggre s sive children together in small groups. These new approaches should be premised on the principle that children will learn from their peers, and thus services should help aggressive children develop bonds of attachment with prosocial children. lent, prosocial go als (Hamilto n, 1990). Teenagers sh ou ld be given opportunities to work or volun t e er a t th e n eig hborh ood le ve l. C om munit y p ro grams that build children’s attachments to prosocial adults and peers by creating opportuni ties to help more needy (and often younger) youths have reported po sitiv e ef fects on children’s s e lf – e ste em , s u cce ss in s ch ool, a nd c o m portm ent ( C a l h oun, 1 994). C ouple d w it h c o m munit y m ob i lization and law enforcement reforms such as community policing, service strategies that in volve the neighborhood should build hope, a s e nse o f c o ntr o l o ve r o ne’s e nvir o nm ent, e xp ecta tions for success in school and work, and a stake in conformity (Chavis & W andersman, 1990; Of f ic e o f J u ve nile J u stic e a nd D elin quency P re ve n-.

t io n, 1 995; W ein gart, H artm ann, & O sb orn e, 1 994). Neighborhoods Services should address neighborhood-related risk factors.

Ecological-developmental research shows clearly that context counts. When neighborhoods a re c h ara cte riz e d b y e asy a cce ss to d ru gs a n d fir e arms, by attitudes and media favorable to v io lence, by high poverty , and by low levels of com munity attachment, the risks are high for children (H aw kins, 1995). In such co mm unities, goals s h ould f o cu s o n p ro vi d in g o pport u nitie s fo r c h il dren to build attachments with prosocial peers a nd a dult s . T o th e e xte nt p ossib le , s e rv ic e s s h ould reinforce traditional elders in businesses, churches, a nd c o m mu n it y a gencie s. For middle and high school youths, neighbor hood-based services should include after-school mentoring, tutoring, or apprenticeship programs t h at b uild b onds o f a tta ch m ent w it h a dult s w h o are committed to conventiona l lin es of action, t h at s tr e ngth en y o uth s’ v o ca tio nal in te re sts a n d s kills , a nd th at r e in fo rc e c o m mit m ent to n onvio – Conclusion A cro ss th e c o untr y , th ousa nds o f p ro gra m s f o cu s o n c h ild re n w ho a re a ggre ssiv e , u ngove rn able , and assaultive. The activities provided by these programs range from child psychotherapy and counseling to midnight basketball and wilderness challenge camping trips.

Most programs represent t h e th oughtfu l e ff o rts o f p ro fe ssio nals , a dvo ca te s, a nd p olic ym ake rs to a ddre ss th e a ngry a ggre ssio n they see in young people. Most also are provided i n th e a bse nce o f a ny e vid ence o f e ff e ctiv e ness ( K azd in , 1 995). There is, however , growing promise in recent research on the ef fectiveness of some kinds of ser vices for children (Lipsey & Wilson, 1993; Mulvey , A rth ur, & R eppucci, 1 993; P ro th ro w -S tit h , 1 995 ; W eisz, W eiss, Han, Granger , & Morton, 1995). In primary prevention with young children (Earle, 1995; Yoshikawa, 1994; Zigler e t al. , 1992), early i n te rv e ntio n w it h c h ild re n w ho h ave d em on strated aggressive, defiant behavior (Lochman, 1 992; O lw eus, 1 993a, 1 993b), a nd th e tr e a tm en t o f s e rio us j u ve nile o ff e nders ( B ord uin e t a l. , 1 995; Gordon, Graves, & Arbuthnot, 1995; Kazdin, Siegel, & Bass, 1992), studies suggest that many of the social conditions and developmental processes that produce violence can be changed.

Combina t io ns o f s tr a te gie s d eliv e re d a cro ss a v a rie ty o f home, school, and other settings and coupled, w here n ece ssa ry , w it h s u bsta nce a buse t r e atm ent have increased children’s prosocial behaviors and r e duce d p ro ble m b ehavio r, i n clu d i n g b oth s e lf r e ports a nd o ff ic ia l r e ports o f ille gal b ehavio rs F r a s e r / A g g r e s s iv e B ehavio r in C hild hood a nd E arly A dole sce nce 3 55 (see also Conduct Problems Prevention Research G ro up, 1 992; H en g g e le r e t a l. , 1 99 2 , 1 995; H en g g e le r, M elt o n, S m it h , S ch oenw ald , & H anle y, 1993; Kazdin, Esveldt-Dawson, French, & Unis, 1 987a, 1 987b). I n m ore fu lly a ddre ssin g th e fa cto rs th at p ro mote aggressive behavior and violence, these pro g ra m s s h are m any f e atu re s: S erv ic e is p ro vid ed in th e c o nte xt o f c o nsis tent and graduated sanctions (both positive and negative) for behavior .

Aggressive or violent behavior is swiftly confronted and g iven consequences. S erv ic e s o ccu r in th e lif e s e ttin gs w here c h il d re n o r p are nts w ork , p la y, a nd le arn . O r, a s i n th e c a se o f r e sid entia l t r e atm ent, s e rv ic e s involve the family throughout the treatment a nd r e unif ic a tio n p ro ce ss. Services are based on local info rma tion about risk and protective factors. They are s e nsit iv e a nd r e le va nt to c u lt u ra l a nd r a cia l dif ferences within and across com muniti es. In helping fami ly mem bers assume respon sible roles, services are skills-focused s tr e ngth enin g p ro ble m -s o lv in g, in fo rm atio n p ro ce s s i n g, a nd p are ntin g s kills . S erv ic e s f o r c h ild re n p ro m ote s ch o o l i n volvement and academic success. Services often help families secure the abso l ute environmental essentials for human development–safe housing, adequate food, : appropriate clothing, and basic health care. R ece nt lo ngit u din al s tu die s o f th e s o cia l d eve l opment of children and this small body of re search on the ef fectiveness of programs with risk focused strategies suggest that intervention to control and reduce aggressive behavior in child hood and early adolescence may have preventive e ff e cts o n y o uth v io le nce . F ocu se d o n m any d if ferent systems, these programs attempt to con v e rg e c o m bin atio ns o f s tr a te gie s o n th e r is k f a c t o rs th at p ote ntia te a ggre ssiv e b ehavio r a nd violence (for example, Hawkins, 1995; Hawkins, Catalano, & Associates, 1992; Henggeler & B ord uin , 1 995; P ro th ro w -S tit h & W eis sm an, 1 991). A lt h ough th e s tr a te gie s th ey e m plo y c a nnot fully of fset the ef fects of poverty , guns, and racism (for example, Bernard, 1990; V an Soest & Bryant, 1995; Wilson, 1987), they attack the problem of v io l e nce b y a tte m ptin g to a lt e r e arly s o cia l p ro cesses that guide many children toward school f a ilu re a nd p eer r e je ctio n. A nd i n s o d oin g, th ey o ff e r n ew p ro m is e fo r m any y o ung c h ild re n w ho have learned to survive in their families, in their schools, and on the streets by confronting author ity with aggression. I R efe re n ces Allen-Hagen, B., & Sickmund, M. (1993, July) . Juve niles and violence: Juvenile o ffendi ng and victimiza ti on (Fact Sheet No.3). W ashington, DC: U.S. De partment of Justice, Of fice of Juvenile Justice and D elin quency P re ve ntio n. Bernard, T. J. (1990). Angry aggression among the “truly disadvantaged.” Cri min ology , 28, 73–96. Bierman, K. L., Smoot, D. L .

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