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Prenatal risk and physical aggression during the first years of life: The gender-specific role of inhibitory control

Van Adrichem, Dide S., Huijbregts, Stephan C. J., Van der Heijden, Kristiaan B., Van Goozen, Stephanie H. M. and Swaab, Hanna 2019. Prenatal risk and physical aggression during the first years of life: The gender-specific role of inhibitory control. Infancy 24 (5) , pp. 807-826. 10.1111/infa.12307

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Prenatal risk and a lack of inhibitory control have consistently been related to the development of physical aggression in older children. This study examined whether inhibitory control mediated the relation between prenatal risk and aggression in infants and toddlers. The role of gender in this mediation model was also examined. The sample consisted of 161 mother–child dyads (83 boys). A prenatal cumulative risk score was created from a number of well‐established risk factors including maternal psychopathology, substance use, and social and socioeconomic disadvantages. At 12 months, children performed an inhibitory control task. Physical aggression was assessed through maternal reports at 12 and 20 months of age. Results showed that higher prenatal risk was associated with more physical aggression. Inhibitory control mediated this association at both 12 and 20 months: higher prenatal risk was related to lower inhibitory control, which in turn led to higher aggression. At 20 months, gender moderated the mediation effect: the mediating role of inhibitory control was only found for girls. These results suggest that even before 2 years of age, inhibitory control is an important construct involved in the relation between prenatal risk and physical aggression.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Additional Information: This article was (co-)authored by Cardiff NDAU researchers
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1525-0008
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 May 2019
Date of Acceptance: 18 May 2019
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2020 11:03

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