Development and Psychopathology

Articles

Longitudinal patterns of physical aggression: Associations with adult social, psychiatric, and personality functioning and testosterone levels

Rebecca C. Windlea1 and Michael Windlea1 c1

a1 Research Institute on Addictions

Abstract

A retrospective longitudinal research design was used to evaluate male adult outcomes associated with four patterns of physical aggression from childhood to adulthood—child-only aggression, child and adult continuity of aggression, adult-onset aggression, and a contrast group with low levels of aggression in childhood and adulthood. The continuity and adult-onset aggression groups had the highest levels of social maladjustment (e.g., marital instability), psychiatric disturbance (e.g., alcohol disorders, major depression), personality dysfunction (e.g., higher prevalence of elevated borderline and narcissistic personality disorder scores), and higher plasma testosterone levels. The child-only aggression group manifested more psychiatric and personality disturbance than the contrast group, but not nearly as much disturbance as the continuity and adult-onset groups. After controlling for age and socioeconomic status (SES) variables, race (White/Black) was typically not a significant predictor of outcome variables. Findings are discussed with regard to life course implications of the physical aggression patterns, and of the support provided for an adult-onset aggressive type.

Correspondence

c1 Michael Windle, 1021 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203