Family Risk Factors Associated With Aggressive Behavior in Chinese Preschool Children

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The study explored family predictors of aggressive behavior in preschool children in China.

Design and Methods:

Using a stratified cluster sampling method, 1382 preschool children were recruited from ten kindergarten schools in Shanghai, China. Their parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)-aggression subscale, the Parent Behavior Inventory, the Family Environment Scale, and a demographic questionnaire.


The mean age of the 1382 children was 4.97 years (SD = .88), with 55.1% (762) boys, and 44.9% (620) girls. According to the CBCL, the prevalence of aggressive behavior in preschool children was 12.4%. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that family conflicts (OR = 1.231, 95% CI: 1.115–1.360), hostile/coercive parenting (OR = 1.083, 95% CI: 1.051–1.116), inconsistent parenting between grandparents and parents (OR = 1.658, 95% CI: 1.175–2.341), and more time spent watching TV (OR = 1.999, 95% CI: 1.568–2.550) significantly predicted aggressive behavior of children.


Children with more family conflicts who experience hostile/coercive parenting were more likely to engage in aggressive behavior. Moreover, inconsistent parenting attitudes between grandparents and parents, and excessive TV exposure also contributed to childhood aggression. Given that the results of this study show a high prevalence of aggressive behavior in preschool children, future research must pay greater attention to this aspect.

Practice Implications:

Family risk factors identified as relevant to children's aggression in this study provide avenues to develop family-focused strategies for curbing aggression in preschool children.

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