Overt categorical aggression in referred children and adolescents

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1998 Jan;37(1):66-73. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199801000-00019.


Objective: To investigate descriptive and predictive correlates of aggression in children and adolescents who exhibit a high frequency of daily physical assault after admission to a structured residential treatment program and to examine correlations between subcategories of overt categorical aggression (OCA) in the same population.

Method: Fifty-one admissions to a residential treatment program were assessed for frequency of physical assault after admission; analyses were corrected for length of stay. Patients with a high frequency of daily assault were compared with patients with a low frequency of daily assault on variables assessing demographics, history, family, concurrent behavior, treatment, and outcome.

Results: A high prevalence of OCA was found in this sample. Variables assessing history and concurrent behavior were significantly associated and predictive of subjects exhibiting a high frequency of daily physical assault after admission. Physical assault was significantly correlated with verbal aggression, property destruction, and self-injurious behavior.

Conclusions: These findings support the distinctiveness of OCA as a separate subtype of aggression encompassing four subcategories. Further research on treatment, outcome, and associated comorbidity of OCA is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression / classification*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Residential Treatment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors