Functions of Aggression and Delinquency: The Moderating Role of Parent Criminality and Friends’ Gang Membership

Rebecca P. Ang, Vivien S. Huan, Xiang Li, Wei Teng Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the relationships between two functions of aggression (i.e., reactive and proactive) and delinquency, including the moderating effects of parent criminality and friends’ gang membership, in a sample of 1,027 Singaporean adolescents from Grade 7 to Grade 9, with age ranging from 12 to 19 years (M = 14.10, SD = 1.15). Findings suggested that both reactive aggression and proactive aggression significantly and positively predicted delinquency (after controlling for proactive aggression and reactive aggression, respectively), with proactive aggression being a stronger predictor. Friends’ gang membership was found to moderate the relationship between reactive aggression and delinquency, and proactive aggression and delinquency, with stronger moderator effects for the latter. Those who were aggressive proactively and who had friends in a gang appear to be impacted most negatively with respect to delinquency. Parent criminality did not moderate these relationships. These findings highlight the need to effectively address the issues of child and adolescent aggression. Also, developing positive peer relations early is crucial for delinquency prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3531-3550
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • delinquency
  • friends’ gang membership
  • parent criminality
  • proactive aggression
  • reactive aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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