Continuity and Change in Anger and Aggressiveness from Infancy to Childhood: The Protective Effects of Positive Parenting

Oliver Perra, Amy Paine, Dale F. Hay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
142 Downloads (Pure)


Early signs of anger and aggression can be identified in infancy. Our aim was to use person-centered methods to identify which infants were most at risk for clinically significant behavioral problems by age 3 and diagnoses of ODD/CD by 7 years, while considering the role of family risk factors and positive parenting. A representative British community sample of 304 infants was assessed by multiple informants at mean ages of 6, 21, and 36 months of age. Latent Transition Analysis (LTA) identified three ordered subgroups at each age, with one subgroup (18%) displaying high levels of physical force as well as anger. These angry aggressive infants were at elevated risk for behavioral problems in early childhood and diagnoses of conduct disorder (CD) and/or oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) at 7 years of age. After other risk factors were taken into account, parents' beliefs in warm parenting and their observed positive affect while interacting with their infants were protective factors. These findings indicate the significance of very early manifestations of angry aggressiveness and have relevance for developmental theories of aggression and prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)xx
Number of pages20
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
VolumeEarly Online
Early online date08 Jul 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 08 Jul 2020


  • aggressive conduct problems
  • conduct disorder
  • oppositional defiant disorder
  • person-centered analyses
  • positive parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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