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Children's hostile intent attributions and emotional distress: What do parents perceive?

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Aggressive Behavior

Published online on


Traditionally, assessments of social information processing and associated emotional distress have used children's self‐reports. We posit that additional informants, such as parents, may help illuminate the association between these variables and aggression. Our sample was composed of 222 dual‐parent families of fourth‐grade children (103 boys; 119 girls). Children responded to instrumental and relational provocations and their parents read the same scenarios and responded the way they believed their child would. Peer nominations provided aggression scores. We explored how means differed by provocation type (relational vs. instrumental), informant (mother, father, and child), and gender of child. The results also suggest that parent perceptions may effectively predict children's participation in relational and physical aggression, above and beyond the child's self‐reports.