Differences in children's aggressiveness in stepfather families and nondivorced families

Date

1987

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Abstract

The present study examined the relationship between the differential expression of aggression in children of nondivorced and stepfamilies, and the variables of emotional bonding and effectiveness of communication. Differential children's aggression, as measured by the aggressive scale of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1983), was analyzed with a two-way MANOVA consisting of family type (stepfamily vs. nondivorced family) and gender (boy vs. girl). Children from stepfamilies were reported to be significantly more aggressive by their parents than children from nondivorced families. There was no significant main effect for gender, nor was there a significant gender by family type interaction. Multiple regression was used to examine the amount of variance in parents' CBCL T-scores which was accounted for by effectiveness of communications and emotional bonding beyond that which was accounted for by family type (R2change). Although effectiveness of communications did not contribute significantly to the model, fathers' reports of emotional bonding accounted for a significant amount of the variance in children's aggressiveness reported in mothers' CBCL's. The positive Beta weight for father's emotional bonding indicated that when fathers reported higher levels of emotional bonding in the family, mothers reported more aggressiveness in their children.

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Keywords

Stepfamilies, United States, Stepfathers, Aggressiveness in children

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