Transitions in Contentious Behaviour in Infancy and Later Aggressive Conduct Problems

Oliver Perra, Dale F. Hay

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Background. Individual trajectories toward aggression originate in early infancy, before there is intent to harm. We focused on infants who were contentious, i.e., prone to engage in anger and use of physical force with other people, and examined change in levels of contentiousness between 6 and 12 months of age with reference to later aggressive conduct problems.
Sample. The CCDS is a nationally representative sample of 321 firstborn children whose families were recruited from antenatal clinics in two National Health Service Trusts.
Method. Mothers, fathers, and a third family member or friend who knew infants well completed the Cardiff Infant Contentiousness Scale (CICS) at 6 months, which was stable form 6 to 12 months, and validated by direct observation of infants’ use of force against peers. Primary caregivers again completed the CICS at 12 months, and up to three informants completed the Child Behaviour Check List at mean ages of 36 and 84 months. We used Latent Transition Analysis to identify different groups of infants in respect to their patterns of contentiousness from 6 to 12 months.
Three ordered classes of contentiousness from low to high were found at 6 and 12 months. Infants exposed to greater family adversity were more likely to move into the high-contentious class from 6 to 12 months. Higher contentiousness in infancy predicted more aggressive conduct problems at 33 months and thereafter.
Infants exposed to family adversity are already at disadvantage by 6 months and likely to escalate in their anger and aggressiveness over time.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventLife History Society Meeting - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 25 May 201628 May 2016


ConferenceLife History Society Meeting


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