Indirect aggression, anxiety, and empathy: Disaggregating between and within person longitudinal associations during childhood and adolescence Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Abstract Although indirectly aggressive behavior and anxiety symptoms can co-occur, it is unclear whether anxiety is an antecedent or outcome of indirect aggression at the individual level and whether other personality traits can contribute to these longitudinal associations. Therefore, the between- and within-person associations among indirect aggression, anxiety symptoms, and empathic concern were examined across adolescence from ages 11 to 16 in a cohort of individuals followed annually (N = 700; 52.9% girls; 76.0% White) controlling for direct aggression and demographic variables. Results of autoregressive latent trajectory models with structured residuals supported an acting out model at the within-person level. Specifically, anxiety symptoms positively predicted indirect aggression and indirect aggression negatively predicted empathic concern at each adjacent time point. These findings suggest that methods of reducing worries about the self and increasing healthy self-confidence could prevent indirect aggression and help build concern and compassion toward others.

publication date

  • December 23, 2021