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Family Structure and Aggression among Children/Adolescents

Happy family. Parents and kids in a line

Looks can be deceiving

Several features of the home environment are known to have a significant impact on aggression among children and adolescents. One feature that has received much attention in the psychological literature is family structure. Sheline, Skipper and Broadhead (1994, cited in Summers and Bakken, 2006) found that when compared to non-violent children, violent youngsters are about six times more likely to have unmarried parents and 11 times as likely to live with their fathers only. Other studies suggest that a lack of contact with fathers may also increase aggression. Pfiffner, McBurnett, and Rathouz (2001, cited in Summers & Bakken, 2006), for example, found a gradual rise in violent behavior starting with youths who lived with both parents, increasing for those who had some contact with their fathers and increasing further for those who had no contact with their fathers.  Similarly, Fagan and Rector (2000, cited in Smith & Green, 2007),  found that children from father-absent households usually harbor feelings of hostility, associate with deviant peers and get involved in negative activities. Continue reading

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