Key issues in the development of aggression and violence from childhood to early adulthood

Annu Rev Psychol. 1997;48:371-410. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.48.1.371.


Different manifestations of aggression from childhood to early adulthood are reviewed to establish how early manifestations are related to later manifestations. Similarities and differences in manifestations of aggression between the two genders are noted. Developmental sequences and pathways from minor aggression to violence are highlighted. Long-term escalation is contrasted with short-term escalation at older ages. Although studies have emphasized high stability of aggression over time, data show that a substantial proportion of aggressive youth desist over time. Temperamental, emotional, and cognitive aspects of aggression are reviewed, either as precursors or co-occurring conditions to aggression. Selected processes in the realms of the family, peers, and neighborhoods are highlighted that are known to be associated with juvenile aggression. Cumulative, long-term causes are contrasted with short-term causes, and causes associated with desistance in aggression are reviewed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology
  • Male
  • Personality Development*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment
  • Temperament
  • Violence / psychology*