Play fighting to cope with children aggression: A study in primary school
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Subjectaggressive behaviours; Children; Peer-aggression; Physical education; Play fighting; Self-perceived aggression
Aggressive behaviours among young people represent a universal concern and many children and adolescents report having been victimized or having bullied others. Cost-effective strategies are required to cope with this problem. The present study investigated the effect of play fighting on self-perceived aggression in primary school pupils. Using a crossover longitudinal design, 42 fourth and fifth-grade pupils (21 boys, mean age = 9.8 ± 0.5 years) took part in a controlled play fighting school-based intervention 2 days/week for 4 consecutive weeks, replicating the program adopted in a previous study with 13-year old junior high school students. Participants filled in the 12-item short version of the Aggression Questionnaire three times: baseline period (T0 and T1), and after the play fighting intervention (T2). A RM-ANOVA showed significant within-subject differences among the three evaluation times (F = 2.95, p = .004). At T1 Verbal Aggression, Anger, and Hostility significantly decreased, while at the post-intervention, only Physical Aggression was significantly lower in comparison with T1 (T1 =5.5 ± 2.7; T2 = 5.0 ± 2.4; F = 5.22, p = .007). Results provide some preliminary insight on the role that play fighting can have as a part of a physical education curriculum to cope with children antisocial and aggressive behaviours, confirming the encouraging conclusions of previous research in young adolescents.
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