Early Prediction of Violence

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Sch of Psychology

Abstract

Amid concerns about the rising rate of violent crime, it is important to try to identify those children who are most likely to become violent. Because some 3- and 4-year-olds are already highly aggressive, we need to learn much more about the earlier stages of development. Most people think that 2-year-olds are all rather aggressive, but grow out of it naturally. This is not true. Past research in small samples has shown that most toddlers only rarely resort to force, although a substantial minority are very aggressive. It is important to corroborate this evidence in a larger, more representative sample. The study we propose has 3 aims: (1) to determine how common early aggression really is, and whether there really is a normal rise and fall in physical aggression from the first to the third birthdays; (2) to find out whether highly aggressive toddlers have experienced particular medical problems and difficult home environments; and (3) to enquire whether there might be two different types of aggressive 3-year-olds, some mainly acting out in response to stress and frustration and others using force in a more strategic, unemotional way. The former may have many other emotional problems, and the latter may at risk to become successful bullies. Thus different types of aggressive children will need different types of support from parents and teachers. In sum, we propose that those children who are most at risk for later violence can be identified before the third birthday, which opens up many possibilities for developmentally appropriate prevention and intervention programmes.

Technical Summary

Given the recent rise in violent crime and aggressive behaviour in schools, it is important to identify children whose aggression places them at risk for educational failure and criminal careers. Many children are already set on violent trajectories by the time they enter reception classes. We aim to achieve earlier prediction of violent behaviour. We propose a prospective longitudinal design that will be able to (1) chart the normative development of aggression in the first 3 years, (2) assess medical and social risk factors and (3) identify subgroups of aggressive children with different profiles of underlying deficits. We shall assess 400 families from pregnancy to the child s 3rd birthday, using a combination of interviews, observations and experimental challenges. The design will yield a unique data set that will inform prevention and early intervention programmes.

Publications

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Pawlby S (2011) Antenatal depression and offspring psychopathology: the influence of childhood maltreatment. in The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science

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Hay DF (2008) Antepartum and postpartum exposure to maternal depression: different effects on different adolescent outcomes. in Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines

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Perra O (2015) Does mothers' postnatal depression influence the development of imitation? in Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines

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Hay DF (2017) If You Go Down to the Woods Today: Infants' Distress During a Teddy Bear's Picnic in Relation to Peer Relations and Later Emotional Problems. in Infancy : the official journal of the International Society on Infant Studies

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Hay DF (2011) Infants' Use of Force to Defend Toys: The Origins of Instrumental Aggression. in Infancy : the official journal of the International Society on Infant Studies

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Hay DF (2014) Precursors to aggression are evident by 6 months of age. in Developmental science

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Hay D (2017) The Early Development of Human Aggression in Child Development Perspectives

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Hay DF (2009) The roots and branches of human altruism. in British journal of psychology (London, England : 1953)

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Hay D (2006) Yours and mine: Toddlers' talk about possessions with familiar peers in British Journal of Developmental Psychology

 
Description Review draft guidelines
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guidance committee
 
Guideline Title SIGN Guidelines on the Management of Perinatal Depression
Description Work supported by two MRC grants has been cited in the 2012 guidelines for the management of perinatal depression.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in clinical guidelines
 
Description Project Grant/Waterloo
Amount £14,619 (GBP)
Organisation The Waterloo Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2010 
End 12/2011
 
Title Cardiff Infant Contentiousness Scale (CICS) 
Description We have developed and demonstrated the reliability and concurrent and predictive validity of a short questionnaire designed to identify early precursors to aggression, suitable for multiple informants reporting on the behaviour of 6-month-old infants 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - human 
Year Produced 2009 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact It is being considered for use in studies in Japan and the US and has been incorporated into the UK Life Study Birth Cohort. 
 
Description ASTAR Team Collaboration 
Organisation King's College London
Department Neuroscience
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am consulting on the development of a new set of measures of behavioural problems suitable for children with autism
Collaborator Contribution They have an ongoing study with an intervention component and require a behavioural measure of outcome
Impact This is a multidisciplinary team involving psychiatry, psychology and statisticians
Start Year 2016
 
Description Genetically Informative Study of Antenatal Influences using Novel Design 
Organisation Cardiff University
Department Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I advised on developmental issues. Thapar and Harold are co-investigators on GO400086 and so the the Wellcome-funded research led to advances in our thinking about the prediction of DBD in the Cardiff Child Development Study (GO400086), and vice versa.
Collaborator Contribution One of the main aims of the project funded by GO400086 was to examine the impact of antenatal influences on disruptive behaviour disorders. Interest in this topic led to another collaboration, funded by a Wellcome Trust showcase award and a Wellcome Trust project grant, in which we explore the impact of antental influences, controlling for genetic relatedness between mother and child (using a novel design that compared IVF treatment groups). The PI on these grants was Anita Thapar, with co-investigators Gordon Harold, Jacky Boivin and Marianne van den Bree.
Impact 19596120 19346045 19188591 17587444 17071023
 
Description South London Child Development Study 
Organisation King's College London
Department Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have continued to be a primary author on some publications and co-author on others
Collaborator Contribution Longitudinal analyses of the longstanding South London Child Development Study, funded by earlier MRC project grants to R Kumar, D Sharp, & D Hay have set forth hypotheses to be tested in the new research; analyses of that data set that are directly relevant to the current grant and undertaken by employees on the current grant have been listed under publications
Impact 8602698 17854906
 
Description UK Life Study Birth Cohort Study (2012) 
Organisation University College London
Department Institute of Child Health
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have been part of a subgroup of the team working on the development of infant assessments. Because this is the first national cohort study that will entail recruitment in pregnancy, i have also been asked to advise on the approaches taken to such recruitment in the longitudinal study funded by GO400086. We also are using preliminary findings from our study to highlight areas of development to be assessed.
Collaborator Contribution I am a co-investigator on the leadership team for the next ESRC- and MRC-funded national cohort study. I have helped propose assessments for infants at 4 and 12 months post partum. This has in turn led me to focus on our own data with an eye to phenomena to follow up in the study of the large cohort. Plese note this is a large collaboration beyond UCL.
Impact Our work on contributing to the bid for the contract for the leadership team helpe secure the contract. Reviewers noted the importance of the direct assessment of infants as a component in the design. This collaboration is multidisciplineary; our subteam (under the leadership of Emily Simonoff) is now collaborating with co-investigators working on educational and economic issues. Please note that the ESRC closed the study prior to the expected date.
Start Year 2010
 
Description CPD for Health Visitor Forum Cardiff 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I present findings from the South London Child Development Study and the ongoing Cardiff Child Development Study funded by this award

ongoing invitations to speak
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2009
 
Description Presentation to Clinical Psychology Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation made to the perinatal clinical psychology group

Media attention and correspondence with policy-makers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Talk to Child Psychotherapy Group in Cardiff 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented a talk to a group of profesisonals interested in children's disorders

I was invited to Powys to present to the Child and Parent Partnership group, as described above
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description Talk to Flying Start 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave a keynote address and also led a workshop with health professonals, teachers, and other professionals working with children's services in the context of the Welsh Flying Start Initiative

I was asked to to meet with Flying Start leaders
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Talk to Powys Child and Family Partnership 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented findings to the conference of this multidisciplinary group of profesisonals in health care, education and social care

unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Talk to speech and language therapists in Cardiff 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented talk to a meeting of the speech and language therapists at St Davids Hospital, Cardiff

A group of speech and language therapists made a return visit to my laboratory to talk further about the issues
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007