Early-onset aggressive behavior is known for its negative developmental consequences, and the associated high costs for families, the health care system and wider society. Although the origins of aggressive behavior are to be found in early childhood, the costs incurred by aggressive behavior of young children have not been studied extensively. The present study aimed to investigate whether preschool children with a high level of aggressive behavior already differ in the generated amount of costs and impact on family functioning from children with lower levels of aggressive behavior. A population-based sample of 317 preschool children was divided into four groups with different levels of aggression (moderate, borderline, clinical). Parents filled out questionnaires to assess service use (lifetime and past 3 months) and impact on family functioning. Over the past 3 months as well as over the first 4 years of life, children with a clinical level of aggression were more costly than children with a low level of aggression (mean total costs over the past 3 months: low = €167,05 versus clinical € = 1034,83 and mean lifetime costs: low € = 817,37 versus clinical € = 1433,04), due to higher costs of services used by the child. In addition, families of children with a borderline or clinical level of aggressive behavior reported more impairment in their daily functioning than families of children with lower levels of aggression. The findings demonstrate that a high level of aggressive behavior results in high costs and impaired family functioning in the preschool years already.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 3, 2011
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