Multiple Trajectories of Physical Aggression Among Adolescent Boys and Girls

Published in: Aggressive Behavior, v. 34, No. 1, Jan./Feb. 2008, p. 61-75

Posted on on January 01, 2008

by Steven C. Martino, Phyllis L. Ellickson, David J. Klein, Daniel F. McCaffrey, Maria Orlando Edelen

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Latent growth mixture modeling was used to identify discrete patterns of physical aggression from Grades 7 to 11 among a sample of 1,877 youth. Four trajectory classes adequately explained the development of physical aggression in both boys and girls: Low/No Aggression; Persistent High Aggression; Desisting Aggression, characterized by decreasing risk throughout adolescence; and Adolescent Aggression, characterized by low early risk that increases until Grade 9, levels out, and then declines in late adolescence. Girls were less likely than boys were to be in any trajectory besides the Low/No Aggression trajectory. Parental supervision, deviant peer association, academic orientation, impulsivity, and emotional distress at Grade 7 were all strongly associated with trajectory class membership. These associations did not differ by gender. These findings strongly suggest that the processes involved in the development of physical aggression in adolescence operate similarly in boys and girls.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.