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Frustration–aggression hypothesis: examination and reformulation.


We used prospective longitudinal data to examine the mechanisms by which economic deprivation leads to conduct problems among preschool children. Consistent with the family stress modeleconomic deprivation measured around the first birthday of our sample children was indirectly associated with higher levels of conduct problems across the preschool years through effects on parental stress that increases the use of harsh discipline. Punitive parenting in turn led to higher conduct problems. We also found that elevated parental stress associated with poverty predicted increased levels of conduct problems, beyond effects through harsh discipline. This additional pathway concurs with Shaw and hypothesis that associations between parental distress and conduct problems may depend on factors other than compromised parenting. One possible explanation is that there may have been maternal psychological distress during pregnancy which may have induced endocrine alterations that led to the transmission of negative traits linked to conduct problems Kim- Another plausible explanation is that children living in poverty are equally exposed to stress. Thus, the direct effect from parental stress to child conduct problems may simply reflect the mediating role of child level stress in the pathway between poverty and conduct problems.