Participants were sixth grade students (N=1235; 65% male) from the Multisite Violence Prevention Program selected by teacher nominations based on a history of aggressive behavior in the classroom and relatively high level of social influence on other students. Eighty-three percent were African American, 15% Hispanic, and 13% European American. Fifty four percent lived in households below the poverty threshold, and 60% of households had an adult male present.
The Problem Behavior Frequency Scale (PBFS; Farrell et al., 2000) was used to measure aggression. Family cohesion was measured using parent-report on the Family Relationships Scale (FRS; Tolan et al., 1997). Parental monitoring was measured using a composite of parent and child report (Gorman-Smith et al., 1996). Presence of an adult male in the household was measured using student report. For each student, household income was scored as a binary indicator of below/above the poverty threshold. Ethnicity was dummy coded to compare Non-Hispanic White and Latino with African American as the reference group.
Multiple hierarchical linear regressions were computed to predict physical and relational aggression at the end of seventh grade after controlling for intervention status, school, study site, and baseline scores on the outcome of interest. After entering main effects, results indicate a significant interaction between poverty and family cohesion in predicting physical aggression (β = 0.48, p < .05), such that cohesion was more strongly negatively related to physical aggression for students above the poverty threshold. A significant interaction between non-Hispanic white ethnicity and family cohesion was found in predicting relational aggression (β = -0.45, p < .05), such that family cohesion is more strongly negatively related to relational aggression for non-Hispanic white compared to African American students. Implications for targeting family-focused prevention and intervention services within high-risk populations will be summarized.