Response decision processes and externalizing behavior problems in adolescents
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.
c1 Reid Griffith Fontaine, Duke University, Psychology Department, Box 90085, Durham, NC 27708; E-mail: email@example.com.