Defense Date

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Albert Farrell

Abstract

Crick and Dodge’s SIP theoretical model proposes that children use previously stored memories, past experiences, and formed representations that influence six mechanisms that are in turn used in deciding how to act in social situations (Crick & Dodge, 1994). Research has demonstrated a strong link between social information processing (SIP) and child aggression. Furthermore, SIP has been shown to mediate the relation between several parenting practices and child aggression. Research has also shown a strong relation between interparental conflict and child aggression. The focus of the current study was to determine if SIP serves as a mediator between parental conflict and aggression in children. This study conducted secondary analyses of longitudinal data from the Child Development Project. Participants were children, parents, and teachers across three sites and two cohorts who were recruited as the child participants entered kindergarten. Data were collected across seven waves from child ages 5 through 11. Interparental Conflict was assessed using mother and father reports on the Conflict Tactics Scale and four SIP steps were measured using four paper and pencil measures. Child aggression was assessed by mothers and teachers using the aggression scales on the Child Behavior Checklist and Teacher Report Form, respectively. Longitudinal mediation models following guidelines outlined by McKinnon (2008) were used to test SIP as a mediator between interparental conflict and aggression. Confirmatory Factor Analysis supported the creation of latent variables for SIP and child aggression. A composite score was calculated and used for interparental conflict in the SEM models. SEM revealed that interparental conflict did not predict changes in SIP or changes in child aggression. For the most part, SIP also did not predict concurrent child aggression or changes in child aggression over time. Direct effects of aggression on interparental conflict, indirect effects of aggression on SIP and of SIP on interparental conflict, and total effects in the models were not significant. The data did not support the hypothesis that SIP mediates the relation between parental conflict and child aggression. Study strengths and limitations and future research directions are discussed.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

April 2014

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