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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2002 May;43(4):481-94.

Response perseveration in adolescent boys with stable and unstable histories of physical aggression: the role of underlying processes.

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Research Unit on Childhood Maladjustment, Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada. Jean.Seguin@UMontreal.CA



It was unclear whether response perseveration and underlying processes, often related to antisocial externalizing disorders, were also related to histories of physical aggression.


Boys of age 13 years were selected on the basis of childhood histories of physical aggression: stable, unstable, and non-aggressive. Performance on a Card Playing Task provided a perseveration index.


Physical aggression, regardless of history, predicted perseveration in adolescence. However, qualitative differences revealed that Neuroticism increased the risk for perseveration only in the unstable aggressive group relative to the other groups. Perseveration in the stable aggressive group maybe related to a more fundamental information-processing deficit.


The identification of these processes has implications for developmental theories of physical aggression; they may help discriminate those children who show early physical aggression and who will remain aggressive from those who will only show occasional physical aggression during later childhood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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