We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Research & business

View Profile

Publication details

Kuay, Hue San, Tiffin, Paul A., Boothroyd, Lynda G., Towl, Graham J. & Centifanti, Luna C. M. (2017). A New Trait-Based Model of Child-to-Parent Aggression. Adolescent Research Review 2(3): 199-211.

Author(s) from Durham


Incidents of child-to-parent aggression have been the most under-researched area of domestic violence. The risk factors for child-to-parent aggression are still unknown. This article reviews risk factors that might explain aggression among adolescents. First, an overview of aggression, with a primary focus on child-to-parent aggression is provided. A number of studies on young people’s aggression show callous-unemotional traits as a predictor of aggression toward peers. However, callous-unemotional traits have not been studied in research on parent-directed aggression, even though they have been shown to be related to social dominance and lack of care toward authority figures (of which parents have a key role during adolescence). Thus, a new “Trait-Based Model” is proposed to explain child-to-parent aggression. In the model, the perpetrators of child-to-parent aggression are divided into two types: “generalists”, who are high on callous-unemotional traits and are proposed to perpetrate aggression toward parents as well as toward others outside the family, and “specialists”, who are low on callous-unemotional traits and specifically perpetrate aggression toward parents but not in other contexts. This article argues for future research to investigate the role of personality traits typically predicting differing subtypes of aggression.