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Title: Hostile attribution bias in children and adolescents
Author: Freeman, Kim
ISNI:       0000 0004 2697 0136
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2010
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Childhood aggression affects a significant number of children and represents the majority of referrals to child clinical services (Ford, Hamilton, Meltzer, & Goodman, 2007). There are substantial costs for the child, their family and society more generally if aggressive behaviour remains untreated (Shivram et al., 2009). Social-cognitive models of aggression have provided the theoretical framework for much of the research into childhood aggression over the past twenty years and formed the focus of clinical interventions (Crick & Dodge, 1994). A key finding from this research is that aggressive children have a tendency to attribute hostility to the intentions of others in ambiguous situations (Orobio de Castro, Veerman, Koops, Bosch and Monshouwer, 2002). The aim of literature review is to explore the factors that lead to the development of this bias. Limitations to extant literature and suggestions for future research are discussed. Although evidence from a number of studies demonstrates the effects of socialisation or peer contagion on children’s aggressive and anti-social behaviour (Prinstein & Dodge, 2008; Thornberry & Krohn, 1997), currently no studies have examined peer contagion effects on hostile attribution bias. The empirical paper describes a study investigating whether hostile attribution biases are contagious amongst adolescents in a community sample of boys and girls. Using a computerised ‘Chat-room’ experimental paradigm, contagion effects were demonstrated across two conditions (hostile and benign) with those exposed to hostile group norms showing greater contagion effects. Four possible moderators on the effects of peer contagion were explored; gender, dispositional levels of aggression, social anxiety and friendship style. The role of peers in the socialisation of hostile intent attribution styles and implications for preventative interventions are discussed.
Supervisor: Hadwin, Julie ; Halligan, Sarah Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; RJ101 Child Health. Child health services