The effects of marginal deviations on behavioral development.

Caprara, G. V., Dodge, K. A., Pastorelli, C., Zelli, A., & Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2006). The effects of marginal deviations on behavioral development. European Psychologist, 11(2), 79-89.


Abstract: This investigation was conceptually framed within the theory of marginal deviations (Caprara & Zimbardo, 1996) and sought evidence for the general hypothesis that some children who initially show marginal behavioral problems may, over time, develop more serious problems depending partly on other personal and behavioral characteristics. To this end, the findings of two studies conducted, respectively, with American elementary school children and Italian middle school students are reviewed. These two studies show that hyperactivity, cognitive difficulties, low special preference, and lack of prosocial behavior increase a child's risk for growth in aggressive behavior over several school years. More importantly, they also show that equivalent levels of these risk factors have a greater impact on the development of children who, early on, were marginally aggressive.