Translational science in action: hostile attributional style and the development of aggressive behavior problems

Dev Psychopathol. Summer 2006;18(3):791-814. doi: 10.1017/s0954579406060391.


A model of the development of hostile attributional style and its role in children's aggressive behavior is proposed, based on the translation of basic science in ethology, neuroscience, social psychology, personality psychology, and developmental psychology. Theory and findings from these domains are reviewed and synthesized in the proposed model, which posits that (a) aggressive behavior and hostile attributions are universal human characteristics, (b) socialization leads to the development of benign attributions, (c) individual differences in attributional style account for differences in aggressive behavior, and (d) interventions to change attributions have the potential to alter antisocial development. Challenges for future research are described.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / epidemiology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data
  • Hostility*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Motivation
  • Neurosciences / methods
  • Psychological Theory
  • Social Behavior Disorders / epidemiology
  • Social Behavior Disorders / psychology*