Aggression and threat perception abnormalities in children with learning and behavior problems.

P.E.H.M. Muris*, H.L.G.J. Merckelbach, S. Walczak

*Corresponding author for this work

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The current study investigated the connection between aggression and the perception of threat in a group of children with learning and behavior problems (N = 103). Aggression was assessed by means of the aggressive behavior subscales of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), Teacher Report Form (TRF), and Youth Self-Report (YSR). Perception of threat was measured by studying children's reactions to a series of stories depicting ambiguous social situations. Results demonstrated small but significant correlations between self-reported aggression (as indexed by the YSR) and threat perception abnormalities. That is, high levels of aggression were associated with a high frequency of threat perception, high ratings of threat, high levels of negative feelings and cognitions, and an early detection of threat. Furthermore, no substantial connections emerged between children's level of aggression as rated by parents (CBCL) and teachers (TRF) and threat perception indices. Finally, regression analyses revealed that in particular YSR social problems was a better predictor of most threat perception abnormalities than YSR aggressive behavior. Implications of these findings are briefly discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-163
JournalChild Psychiatry & Human Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


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