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24-08-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 1/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 1/2018

Teacher and Parent Perceptions of Relational and Physical Aggression During Early Childhood

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 1/2018
Auteurs:
Cara S. Swit, Anne L. McMaugh, Wayne A. Warburton
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Declaration: This manuscript is an original work that has not been submitted to nor published anywhere else.

Abstract

Although links have been found between parents’ and teachers’ (caregivers’) attitudes about aggressive behavior, their responses to aggressive behaviour in children, and those children’s own use of aggressive behaviour, most research has focused on primary and secondary school contexts and has examined the influence of parents and teachers separately. The current study explored both parents’ and teachers’ beliefs and intervention strategies for relational and physical aggression in early childhood settings. Teachers (N = 18; Mage = 34.8 years) and parents (N = 68; Mage = 32.2 years) were presented with vignettes portraying relational and physical aggression. Following each vignette, their perceptions of the seriousness of the act, empathy for the victim, likelihood to intervene, and intervention strategies used to respond to each vignette were assessed. Teachers were also interviewed about examples of aggression that have been seen in preschool age children. Results indicated that caregivers viewed relational compared to physical aggression as more normative, and had less empathy for, and were less likely to intervene in instances of relationally aggressive behaviour. They also recommended more passive intervention strategies towards relationally aggressive children and more direct strategies towards physically aggressive children. Interview responses indicated that teachers perceived the primary cause of aggression to be related to developmental characteristics of the child. Implications for how these findings about adult–child interactions impact the development of relational and physical aggression are discussed.

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