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Publication type: Article in scientific journal
Type of review: Peer review (publication)
Title: Distinct profiles of reactive and proactive aggression in adolescents : associations with cognitive and affective empathy
Authors : Euler, Felix
Steinlin, Célia
Stadler, Christina
DOI : 10.21256/zhaw-1432
Published in : Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
Volume(Issue) : 11
Issue : 1
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher / Ed. Institution : BioMed Central
ISSN: 1753-2000
Language : English
Subjects : Juvenile detention; Aggression; Adolescents; Empathy
Subject (DDC) : 155: Differential and developmental psychology
362: Health and social services
Abstract: Background: Aggression comprises a heterogeneous set of behavioral patterns that aim to harm and hurt others. Empathy represents a potential mechanism that inhibits aggressive conduct and enhances prosocial behavior. Nevertheless, research results on the relationship between empathy and aggression are mixed. Subtypes of aggressive behavior, such as reactive and proactive aggression might be differently related to empathy. The aim of the present study was to investigate the interrelations of cognitive and affective empathy with reactive and proactive aggression. Methods: We recruited a sample of 177 (33% female, M age 15.6) adolescents from socio-educational and juvenile justice institutions and a community sample of 77 (36% female, M age 13.1) adolescents from secondary schools. Using bivariate correlation analysis and hierarchical multiple regression analysis, we firstly investigated associations between cognitive and affective empathy and reactive and proactive aggression. Subsequently, we performed cluster analysis to identify clusters of adolescents with meaningful profiles of aggressive behavior and compared derived clusters on measures of empathy. We applied the Basic Empathy Scale and the Reactive-Proactive Aggression Questionnaire. Results: Bivariate analysis and hierarchical regression analysis showed that cognitive and affective empathy were negatively associated with proactive aggression, but not with reactive aggression. Cluster-analysis revealed three clusters of adolescents with distinct aggression profiles: a cluster with elevated scores on reactive and proactive aggression, a clusters with high scores on reactive aggression only, and a low aggression cluster. Cluster comparisons revealed that the reactive-proactive aggression cluster showed significantly lower scores on cognitive and affective empathy than both other clusters. Results further indicated that within the reactive-proactive aggression cluster, girls did not differ significantly from boys in empath Conclusions: The present study extends previously published findings, and possibly explains conflicting results in prior research. Our results indicated that cognitive and affective empathy are reduced in adolescents with high levels of reactive and proactive aggression. Our study may contribute to the development of tailored clinical interventions for different aggression clusters.
Fulltext version : Published version
License (according to publishing contract) : Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: Applied Psychology
Organisational Unit: Institute of Applied Psychology (IAP)
Appears in Collections:Publikationen Angewandte Psychologie

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