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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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135. The role of anxiety in aggressive and non-aggressive antisocial behaviors: Experience Sampling Methodology

Previous research has reported elevations on anxiety symptoms are associated with externalizing behaviors, and especially with relational and reactive aggression. The association with anxiety symptoms is less clear, however, for non-aggressive or rule-breaking antisocial behavior. Moreover, more recent research has found that the role of anxiety in predicting risk for later violence may be limited to self-report measures. We sought to address this gap by looking at associations between anxiety and three dimensions of antisocial behaviors measured via experience sampling methodology (ESM) in an undergraduate sample (N=41). In the current study, we examined whether anxiety symptoms measured by Adult Self-Report (ASR) predicted specific instantiations of rule-breaking (RB), social aggression (SA), and digital aggression (DA) occurring over the course of a week, and how these associations differed for those reporting little-to-no or high levels of externalizing. Our analyses found anxiety played a role only for RB such that individuals in the high externalizing group engaged in more RB behaviors under low anxiety. Such findings suggest a differential role anxiety may play in aggressive and non-aggressive antisocial behaviors.

Mikayla Kim
Michigan State University

Saleem Alhabash
Michigan State University

S. Alexandra Burt
Michigan State University


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