The Role of Placement History and Current Family Environment in Children’s Aggression in Foster Care
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Predictors of the physical and relational aggressive behavior of children in foster care were examined (N = 160, 50.9% male, M age = 7.57, SD = 2.39). First, predictors representative of children’s placement histories were examined in relation to the children’s aggression at T1. Next, predictors representing characteristics of the current family environment were examined in relation to the children’s aggression at T2 (4 months later). Results revealed that a greater number of prior group home placements and being in a non-kinship home were associated with higher physical aggression at T1. A greater number of prior group home placements, a fewer number of regular home placements, being in a non-kinship home, and prior removal from the home due to neglect were associated with higher relational aggression at T1. The results also revealed that higher foster sibling relational aggression at T1 predicted lower child physical aggression at T2. If foster siblings were biological children of the foster parent, higher levels of a foster sibling’s physical aggression at T1 predicted reduced child physical aggression at T2. The opposite pattern was observed if foster siblings were not biological children of the foster parent. Lastly, longer time in the current placement, more children in the home, and the presence of a sibling that was a biological child of the parent predicted higher child relational aggression at T2. These findings provide initial insights into how placement history and current family environment are associated with the physical and relational aggressive behavior of children in foster care.
KeywordsRelational aggression Physical aggression Foster care Sibling aggression Kinship care Foster children Sibling relationships
This research was supported by the following grants: R01 MH060195 and is funded by the NIH. The authors would like to thank Norma Talmantes for project management and the research assistants who assisted in data collection, management, and intervention work. We would also like to thank Dr. Jamie Ostrov for consultation on the aggression measures and tables. Special thanks to the families for their participation.
This study was funded by R01 MH060195.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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