Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early intervention reduces aggressive behavior in adulthood

Date:
April 1, 2014
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
An educational intervention program for children between kindergarten and 10th grade, known as Fast Track, reduces aggressive behavior later in life by dampening testosterone levels in response to social threats, according to research. The Fast Track intervention program teaches children social cognitive skills, such as emotional regulation and social problem solving, and previous research suggests that the program may lead to decreased antisocial behavior and aggression in childhood and adolescence.

An educational intervention program for children between kindergarten and 10th grade, known as Fast Track, reduces aggressive behavior later in life, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The research, led by psychological scientist Justin Carrι of Nipissing University in Ontario, Canada, indicates that dampened testosterone levels in response to social threats may account for the intervention's success in reducing aggression.

The Fast Track intervention program teaches children social cognitive skills, such as emotional regulation and social problem solving, and previous research suggests that the program may lead to decreased antisocial behavior and aggression in childhood and adolescence.

But it wasn't clear whether the skills that children learned in the program would have impacts that carried over into adulthood.

Carrι and colleagues suspected that the program would have long-term effects, and that those effects would be linked to a specific biological mechanism: alterations in testosterone reactivity to social provocation.

To test these hypotheses, the researchers recruited 63 participants from Fast Track schools in Durham, North Carolina. To ensure the participants in the sample were similar demographically, all of the participants were African American men who were about 26 years old.

Half of those participants were involved in the Fast Track program from ages 5 to 17, consisting of tutoring, peer coaching, home and family visits, and social-emotional learning lessons with friends. The rest of the participants attended the same schools but weren't involved in the Fast Track program.

More than 8 years after the intervention ended, the researchers brought the participants into the lab to play a game, the goal of which was to earn as much money as possible by pressing three buttons: one which accrued money, one which prevented money from being stolen, and another which stole money from an opponent. The participants believed they were playing against an actual opponent, but the game was actually determined by a computer program. The fictitious opponent provoked participants during the task by stealing their hard-earned money.

Overall, participants who completed the Fast Track program showed less aggression toward their opponent -- that is, they opted to steal less money from their opponent than did participants who didn't complete Fast Track.

Participants who hadn't received the intervention showed an increase in testosterone levels after having their money stolen, but Fast Track participants didn't, a finding that could explain their reduced aggression.

"Interestingly, there were no differences between intervention and control groups in baseline testosterone concentrations or aggressive behavior at the beginning of the experiment," Carrι explains. "Differences in aggressive behavior and testosterone concentrations emerged only later in the game."

Ultimately, the findings suggest that Fast Track was successful in reducing participants' aggression toward a hostile peer in part because it changed the way their neuroendocrine systems responded to social provocation.

Now that they're confident that the effects of the Fast Track program reach into adulthood, the researchers are interested in determining which specific components of the intervention are most effective in reducing aggression, what neural mechanisms underlie aggressive behavior, and whether these results also ring true for women who have participated in the program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. M. Carre, A.-M. R. Iselin, K. M. Welker, A. R. Hariri, K. A. Dodge. Testosterone Reactivity to Provocation Mediates the Effect of Early Intervention on Aggressive Behavior. Psychological Science, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/0956797614525642

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Early intervention reduces aggressive behavior in adulthood." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401102922.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2014, April 1). Early intervention reduces aggressive behavior in adulthood. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401102922.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Early intervention reduces aggressive behavior in adulthood." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401102922.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) — It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) — Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) — Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins