Caregivers’ Grit Moderates the Relationship Between Children’s Executive Function and Aggression

Bess Y.H. Lam (Corresponding Author), Adrian Raine, Annis L.C. Fung, Yu Gao, Tatia M.C. Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Previous studies have shown that the impairment of executive function is positively related to aggression in children and adolescents. What is worth investigating is the moderator of such a relationship so that aggressive behavior can be reduced effectively in those who have executive function problems. The present study examined the association between executive function and two major subtypes of aggression (proactive and reactive aggression) and whether their caregivers’ grit (perseverance) moderated such relationship. Method: Executive function and reactive and proactive aggression were assessed in 254 children and adolescents aged 8–19 years old, and their caregivers’ grit was measured. Results: Results show that caregivers’ grit plays a significant role in moderating the relationship between children’s executive function and proactive aggression after controlling for the covariates including the children’s age, gender, and family income. Specifically, children’s executive function became more negatively associated with proactive aggression when caregivers’ grit was high while the association was positive when it was low. On the other hand, the association between children’s executive function and reactive aggression did not vary across different levels of caregivers’ grit. Conclusion: These findings suggest that proactive aggression may be reduced in those who have better executive function by enhancing their caregivers’ grit, which inform the design of interventions in adjunct with the current approach (e.g., executive function training) to reduce aggression in children and adolescents in the community.

Original languageEnglish
Article number636
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2020


  • executive function
  • grit
  • perseverance
  • proactive aggression
  • reactive aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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