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01-03-2011 | Uitgave 1/2011 Open Access

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 1/2011

The Latent Structure of Youth Responses to Peer Provocation

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment > Uitgave 1/2011
Melanie A. Dirks, Teresa A. Treat, V. Robin Weersing


This study examined whether the three categories often applied to children’s behavior—aggressive, avoidant, and assertive—actually capture the structure of a naturalistic sample of youth behavior coded at a more micro level. A sample of lower-income youth (N = 392; M age = 12.69, SD = 0.95) completed a new multiple-choice measure asking them to select responses to scenarios depicting physical, verbal, and relational provocation by a peer. Youth responses to the vignettes showed the expected associations with self-reported aggression and regulation of anger, providing preliminary evidence for the convergent validity of the measure. Factor analysis confirmed that responses loaded on three factors: aggression, avoidance, and assertion. Model fit was adequate (RMSEA = .028) and cross-validated in a second sample (RMSEA = .039). Several types of responses loaded on two factors suggesting that some strategies that youth use to manage provocation are not “pure” examples of these broadband categories. Implications for conceptualization and measurement of youth social behavior are discussed.

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