About this sample
About this sample
2 pages /
2 pages /
“Preschool Gender-Typed Play Behavior at Age 3.5 Years Predicts Physical Aggression at Age 13 Years” is a 10-year longitudinal study carried out by researchers Karson T.F. Kung, Gu Li, Jean Golding, and Melissa Hines. The study examined the correlational relationship between play behavior among young toddlers and physical aggression that becomes apparent later in their life. The findings of this study agree with the claims made in the class textbook: “Aggressive tendencies at three years of age predict aggressive behavior later in life” (Bartol & Bartol, 2017). This paper will analyze the study presented by Kung and his colleagues by summarizing the article, articulating the ways in which the information in the article is consistent with the material presented in class, critically identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the article, and finally, discussing how this research article might be expanded in the future.
In this study, utilizing a 10-year longitudinal approach, there was an analysis of a representative sample that was “masculine (64 boys, 60 girls), and feminine (80 boys, 66 girls)”, as well as “randomly chosen control children (55 boys, 67 girls)” (Kung, Li, Golding, & Hines, 2017). Moreover, Kung and his colleagues’ study was a follow-up of an ALSPAC study that had previously analyzed over “14,000 mothers and their children beginning prenatally”; to assess gender-typed play behavior at 3.5 years of age, the researchers used the pre-school activities inventory, which is a “psychometrically constructed parent-report questionnaire” (Kung, Li, Golding, & Hines, 2017). To assess physical aggression at the age of 13, the Crown-Crisp Experiential Index, which is “an inventory assessing anxiety, depression, and somatic symptoms, with higher scores indicating higher levels of psychopathology” (Kung, Li, Golding, & Hines, 2017). Kung and his colleagues aimed to compare their findings with that of ALSPAC’s findings. Ultimately, the researchers found that their study’s results agreed with that of ALSPAC’s study results, with the implications of childhood gender-typed play behavior predicting future physical aggression.
What was especially unique about their study was that instead of analyzing the representative sample strictly by the means of gender, the researchers also analyzed whether the child showed feminine or masculine characteristics. This is appropriate for the current developments within society, and more kids being able to be comfortable in their own identity at an early age. Therefore, the researchers also found that masculine children, whether it be male or female, demonstrated substantially more physical aggression than the control group or the feminine children. These results are insightful because most studies persist on analyzing the representative sample only based on gender, which usually implicates that males are ones that display the aggressive behavior in most situations, and these studies then undermine the males who are sensitive and not-in-touch with their aggressive side, as well as vicious females.
To further emphasize this, the researchers found that “the association between gender-typed play behavior at age 3.5 and physical aggression at age 13 did not differ between boys and girls” (Kung, Li, Golding, & Hines, 2017). Therefore, the main strengths of the study was that it included a representative sample that was unique in regards to studying femininity and masculinity rather than only the sex of the subject, the study compared its findings to that of a credible ALSPAC study, which agreed in its results, and through various statistical measures and aggression inventories, the study was able to confirm the correlation between gender-related play behavior at 3.5 years predicting future aggressive behavior at age 13 is, in fact, a cause and effect relationship.
What was particularly fascinating in Kung and his colleagues’ study was the Reinisch Aggression Inventory (RAI) which examined various physical aggression, verbal aggression, non-aggressive coping, and withdrawal behaviors through a statistical means. By using RAI, the researchers were able to study numerous developmental risk factors, ranging from alcohol consumption during the first 3 months of pregnancy and parenting quality at 38 months postnatal to presence of siblings and family income (Kung, Li, Golding, & Hines, 2017). These analyses agree with the statements made in the class textbook: “Some risk factors can be described as experiences that are common in the background of many repeat offenders, such as school failure, abuse of alcohol, antisocial peers, or child victimization” (Bartol & Bartol, 2017). Risk factors are generally anything that can contribute to the aggressive behavior of a person, whether this be the state of the child’s parents when they were pregnant to the child or the collection of unproductive habits the child has developed throughout his childhood. By studying risk factors pertaining to the children’s lives in a statistical manner, Kung and his colleagues were able to provide a predictability measure of if a child was going to develop aggressive behavior, and by analyzing the children again at the age of 13, the researchers were able to see their accuracy and precision in their results.
Although Kung and his colleagues’ study was overall a successful one, it’s important to note the weaknesses of it. The study was extremely time-consuming and took approximately 10 years to fulfill, which relied heavily on the children and their parents continuously showing up for the research and participating. Additionally, Kung and his colleagues didn’t study the children in a natural setting, and one’s natural behavior is impacted when they are aware of being researched and analyzed. Furthermore, even though the researchers initiated an effective method of analyzing risk factors, in reality, it’s too complex to be able to consider all risk factors in one’s life, and the researchers didn’t include any consideration for protective factors. A future research would constitute of including an analysis of protective factors in addition to risk factors and will aim to analyze the children in a natural setting, rather than accepting most-likely biased questionnaire answers.
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