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Hormones and aggression in childhood and adolescence

Ramirez, J. Martin (2003) Hormones and aggression in childhood and adolescence. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 8 (6). pp. 621-644. ISSN 1359-1789

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Abstract

This review is a survey on recent psychobiosocial studies on association between hormones and aggression/violence in children and adolescents, with a special focus on puberty, given the rapid changes in both hormones and behavior occurring during that developmental period. Since it cannot be assumed that all readers have much background knowledge, it inevitably begins with some comments about the concept and multifaceted nature of aggression, as well as with a brief reminding about hormone candidates to be linked to aggression during human development. Then, we finish off with the status of its knowledge in today’s science, tackling in a systematic way with the main data published, hormone by hormone. The origin of the gender-based differences in aggression must lie in neuroendocrinological events occurring during prenatal life or early in postnatal life. A complex and indirect effect of testosterone on aggression is proposed. A low HPA axis activity seems associated with chronic aggressive and antisocial behaviors. It is also suggested that early adrenal androgens contribute to the onset and maintenance of persistent violent and antisocial behavior, and that it begins early in life and persists into adulthood, at least in young boys. There are also some studies suggesting an association between aggression and some pituitary hormones in children, even if present data are still far from being consistent. The hormone-aggression link during development thus is not consistently reported. There can be an indirect relation in three ways: hormones can be involved in the development of aggression as a cause, as a consequence, or even as a mediator. Psychosocial factors may influence the causation and progression of violence in children through hormonal action.


Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Hormones, Aggression, Childhood, Adolescence
Subjects:Medical sciences > Medicine > Endocrinology
Medical sciences > Psychology > Emotions and Aggresiveness
Medical sciences > Psychology > Developmental psychology
ID Code:10000
Deposited On:09 Feb 2010 11:18
Last Modified:06 Jun 2011 08:02

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