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05-07-2017 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2018 Open Access

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 2/2018

Proactive and Reactive Aggression Subgroups in Typically Developing Children: The Role of Executive Functioning, Psychophysiology, and Psychopathy

Tijdschrift:
Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 2/2018
Auteurs:
Nicholas D. Thomson, Luna C. M. Centifanti

Abstract

This study aimed to assess whether groups of aggressive children differed on psychopathic traits, and neuropsychological and neurobiological measures of prefrontal functioning consistent with the objectives of their aggression—reactive or proactive. Including 110 typically developing children (9–11 years), a latent class analysis identified a low aggression group, a high reactive aggression group, and a mixed (high reactive and proactive) aggression group. Results show high callous–unemotional traits and low resting respiratory sinus arrhythmia increased the likelihood of children being in the mixed aggression group, when compared to the reactive and low aggression groups. However, deficits in planning and inhibitory control increased the likelihood of children being in the reactive aggression group, when compared to the mixed and low aggression groups. Executive functioning deficits did not differentiate the mixed group from the low aggression group. These findings highlight psychobiological and executive functioning differences that may explain heterogeneity in childhood aggression.

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