Change trajectories of aggressive behavior among children in long-term residential care

Shalhevet Attar-Schwartz*, Rami Benbenishty, Ilan Roziner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study examined change trajectories of aggressive behaviors among children in long-term residential care in Israel and identified various child-, family-, and placement-related predictors of the change trajectories. Records of 799 children (average age at the beginning of the four years = 10.4, 33.1% female) in their first four consecutive years in care were analyzed using the TRF aggressive behavior subscale (Achenbach, 1991) to measure the outcome variable. Children's and parents’ characteristics and placement-related factors were used to explain variance in change trajectories. Latent Class Growth Analyses identified four aggressive behavior trajectories: ‘stable-low’ levels of aggressiveness over time (45% of the children), ‘stable-high’ levels (13%), ‘improvement’ (20%), and ‘deterioration’ (22%). Predictors of less resilient trajectories (i.e., stable-high or increasing aggressiveness) included mothers’ difficulties and disabilities, children's attendance of special education classes, more intensive type of care, and non-immigrant status. The Attachment Theory, Life Course Perspective theories, and the General Strain Theory are used to interpret some of the findings of the study. Identifying the factors that predispose children to certain patterns of change may help direct resources to children at risk of having high or increasing levels of aggression while in residential care.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)158-170
Number of pages13
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Aggressive behavior
  • Attachment theory
  • General strain theory
  • Israel
  • Life course perspective theories
  • Parental difficulties
  • Residential care
  • Trajectories
  • Type of care


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