Curriculum & Instruction

Document Type


Publication Date



Objective: Childhood aggression is related to a myriad of negative concurrent and long-term outcomes. To mitigate the risks associated with childhood aggression, it is important to understand risk factors that might predispose one to aggressive behaviors. One risk factor commonly associated with aggression is the experience of child maltreatment. A common outcome associated with child maltreatment is the development of post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS). Several prevailing theoretical models of both post-traumatic stress and aggression indicate that these constructs have similar underlying cognitive, behavioral, and emotional mechanisms. Therefore, the present study examined the relations between and among child maltreatment, PTSS clusters, and proactive and reactive aggression in children.

Method: Children between the ages of 6 and 14 who were enrolled in a residential treatment program completed self-report measures to evaluate variables of interest. These variables were included as multiple outcomes in a path analysis model in which individual PTSS clusters were examined as potential multiple mediators of the relations between child maltreatment and proactive and reactive aggression.

Results: Direct effects of child maltreatment and PTSS clusters on aggression were observed. Significant indirect effects of the intrusion PTSS cluster on the relation between child maltreatment and reactive aggression was found. Conclusions: Findings suggest that symptoms associated with these specific PTSS clusters might help explain the relation between child maltreatment and reactive aggression and therefore present important implications for clinical practice and future research.

Publication/Presentation Information

McRae, E.M. et al. (March 2022) "Pathways from Child Maltreatment to Proactive and Reactive Aggression: The Role of Post-Traumatic Stress Symptom Clusters." Psychological Trauma, 14(3):357-366. DOI: doi: 10.1037/tra0001051



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.