This is an archived article.

January 18, 2000

100 families from variety of racial, ethnic backgrounds needed for study exploring origins of aggressive behavior in children

University of Washington researchers trying to understand the roots and continuity of aggressive behavior in children are looking for 100 families in the greater Seattle area to participate in a new study.

Families volunteering to take part in the study can earn $150 for their participation which will involve about 10 hours of time over a two-to-four-week period, said Lynn Fainsilber Katz, associate research professor of psychology, who is directing the project. Families from a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds, reflecting the diversity of the region, are being sought for the study.

To be eligible, families must consist of two parents living in the home and have a 4-or 5-year-old child. Children who are exhibiting aggressive behavior, as well as those who are not, are eligible for participation. Aggressive child behaviors include hitting other children, arguing with parents, peers or teachers, disobeying rules and having regular temper tantrums, according to Katz.

Participating families in the study will meet with the researchers both at the project’s offices in the University District and in family homes. At the research office, the parents will be observed as they interact with their child and with each other. Parents also will be interviewed and their child will be asked to perform several tasks. The home visits will include collection of a family history plus a session where the researchers will make an audio tape of the child playing with his or her best friend.

Families can earn addition money for follow-up sessions when their children are 9 and 10 years old.

Katz said the study is designed to examine family environments and identify factors and changes in children that may predict changes or continuity in aggressive behavior. Among children acting aggressively at age five, approximately half continue the behavior later in childhood, while the others don’t, she said.

Parents who would like more information or would like to volunteer their family for the study may contact Stephanie Jones, project research assistant, at 206-616-4061.

The project is being funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

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For more information, contact Katz or Jones at 206-616-4061 or e-mail Jones at shaniqua@u.washington.edu