Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Terri Sullivan, Ph.D.


The prevalence of physical aggression increases during adolescence and is associated with negative health outcomes. It is important to identify risk and protective processes for adolescent aggression in the context of the parent-adolescent relationship. The current study examined the potential moderating role of positive parenting at Wave 1 on relations between perceived parental messages supporting fighting at Wave 1 and adolescent aggression based on parent- and student-report at Wave 2. Participants included a sample of 537 adolescents and their primary caregivers, recruited from four sites in the U.S. No significant moderating effects were found. However, parental messages supporting fighting were positively associated with increased student-reported aggression six months later, and positive parenting was related to decreased parent-reported aggression over the same timeframe. Implications suggest that parental messages supporting fighting and positive parenting represent a risk and promotive factor, respectively, in relation to aggressive behavior in early adolescence.


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