Response decision processes and externalizing behavior problems in adolescents

Dev Psychopathol. Winter 2002;14(1):107-22. doi: 10.1017/s0954579402001062.


Externalizing behavior problems of 124 adolescents were assessed across Grades 7-11. In Grade 9, participants were also assessed across social-cognitive domains after imagining themselves as the object of provocations portrayed in six videotaped vignettes. Participants responded to vignette-based questions representing multiple processes of the response decision step of social information processing. Phase 1 of our investigation supported a two-factor model of the response evaluation process of response decision (response valuation and outcome expectancy). Phase 2 showed significant relations between the set of these response decision processes, as well as response selection, measured in Grade 9 and (a) externalizing behavior in Grade 9 and (b) externalizing behavior in Grades 10-11, even after controlling externalizing behavior in Grades 7-8. These findings suggest that on-line behavioral judgments about aggression play a crucial role in the maintenance and growth of aggressive response tendencies in adolescence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology*
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hostility*
  • Humans
  • Individuation*
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Peer Group*
  • Personality Assessment
  • Social Adjustment
  • Sociometric Techniques