Aggressive behaviour in at-risk children: Contribution of subjective well-being and family cohesion

Liat Hamama*, Yael Arazi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We examined the contributors to aggressive behaviour in 111 at-risk Israeli children aged 9-13 years who attended day centres over several years to prevent removal from their homes. This non-normative transition to a day centre represents a difficult period of change for these children, which often manifests in aggressive behaviours, at least in the short term. To elucidate predictors of aggressive behaviour, we investigated a familial variable (family cohesion) and a personal variable (subjective well-being [SWB]) that were previously shown to correlate with various aspects of children's aggression. Children's self-reports underscored the importance of SWB for their aggressive behaviour. SWB's cognitive component - life satisfaction - correlated significantly with all four measures of aggressive behaviour (physical violence, verbal violence, anger and hostility). SWB's emotional component - negative affect - correlated significantly with all but verbal violence. Interestingly, SWB was found to mediate the hostility dimension of aggression (as well as family cohesion). Other significant findings revealed that family cohesion correlated positively with SWB (life satisfaction and positive affect) and correlated negatively with aggression (physical violence, verbal violence, anger and hostility). Various explanations were discussed alongside implications for day care staff's individual and family interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-295
Number of pages12
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Children
  • Day centres
  • Family cohesion
  • Subjective well-being


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