This study investigated mechanisms behind proactive and reactive aggression, by examining whether four types of self-serving cognitive distortions and the personality traits agreeableness and conscientiousness differently predicted proactive and reactive aggression. Self-report questionnaires and a peer nominations method were administered to 173 sixth grade children (age 10 to 13) of regular elementary schools in the Netherlands. Negative binomial regression analyses showed that proactive aggression was predicted by self-centered and disagreeable tendencies, whereas reactive aggression was predicted by the misattribution of blame to others and the self-regulatory aspects of agreeableness and conscientiousness. Findings emphasize the need to differentiate proactive and reactive aggression in order to accurately predict and treat aggressive behaviors in childhood
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