Purpose – Distinguishing between physical and social aggression, this study aimed to examine whether the predictive effect of aggression on resource control is moderated by prosocial behavior and corresponds to a linear or a curvilinear trend. Moderating effects of children's social preference among peers and child sex in this context were also tested. Design/methodology/approach – Based on a sample of 682 kindergarten children (348 girls; average age 72.7 months, 3.6 SD), multilevel regressions revealed additive linear effects of social preference and prosociality on resource control. Findings – Moderate (but not high) levels of social aggression also facilitated resource control for disliked children. There was no such threshold effect for well‐liked children, who increasingly controlled the resource the more socially aggressive they were. In contrast, physical aggression hampered resource control unless used very modestly. Originality/value – The present study has a number of positive features. First, the distinction between physical and social aggression improves our understanding of the relation between aggression and social competence and sketches a more differentiated picture of the role of different forms of aggression in resource control. Second, this study combines the concept of resource control with the concept of social preference and investigates curvilinear effects of aggression. Third, the direct observation of resource control in the Movie Viewer increases the internal validity of this study.
Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 12, 2013
Keywords: Resource control; Physical and social aggression; Prosocial behaviour; Social preference; Behaviour; Social behaviour; Children (age groups)
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