Persistent early childhood aggression is a strong predictor of violence later in life. To determine how well general pediatricians counsel parents regarding aggression management strategies, responses to open-ended questions and endorsements of specific aggression management strategies, among 27 pediatricians were evaluated. Sixteen (59%) screened regularly for aggression and 23 (85%) counseled (rather than referred) if there were parental concerns. Pediatricians were most likely to spontaneously recommend time-outs (85%) and verbal reprimands (78%) and much less likely to recommend other strategies such as redirecting (26%, p < 0.01) and promoting empathy (22%, p < 0.001). Pediatricians did endorse other aggression management strategies, however, when specifically asked about them. Pediatricians appear to take a limited approach to counseling parents of children with hurtful behavior. To increase health care providers' role in violence prevention, more systematic efforts are needed to increase rates of screening for early childhood aggression and to broaden the scope of how pediatricians counsel parents.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health