Family Factors Associated with Auto-aggressiveness in Adolescents in Croatia

Mara Tripković, Tanja Frančišković, Neda Grgić, Nela Ercegović, Mirjana Graovac, Iva Zečević


The aim of this research is to look into the roles of families’ social situation and cohesion in adolescent auto-aggressiveness in Croatia. The research was conducted on a sample of Zagreb high school students which encompassed 701 pupils of both genders aged 14–19. The basic demographic data were obtained using the Structured Demographic and Family Data Questionnaire. Auto-aggressiveness was tested using a section of the Report on Youth Aged 11-18 and the Scale of Auto-destructiveness - SAD, whereas the family cohesion was tested with the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales FACES III. The obtained results show differences according to the gender:  girls are more prone to auto-aggressiveness than boys (t=-3.385, df=565, p=0.001) and girls more often show symptoms of destructiveness (t=-3.809, df=637, p<0.001) and anxiety (t=-6.562, df=640, p<0.001), while boys show pronounced aggressiveness (t=2.655, df=653, p=0.008). Significant family factors associated with auto-aggressiveness are parents' marital status (χ²=18.039, df=4, p=0.001), their financial situation (F(2.548)=4.604, p=0.010), alcoholic father (χ²=9.270, df=2, p=0.010), mentally ill mother (t=5.264, df=541, p<0.001), as well as mentally ill father (t=4.744, df=529, p<0.001), and corporal punishment by mother (F(2.542)=8.132, p<0.001) or father (F(2.530)=5.341, p=0.005). Adolescents from split families show more auto-aggressiveness. Family cohesion appears to be considerably associated with auto-aggressiveness and the adolescents that see their families as less cohesive have more mental problems (χ²=29.98, df=2, p<0.001). There is a connection between auto-destructive behavior in adolescents and family factors. Knowledge of family's social situation and cohesion may help understand, prevent and treat auto-aggressiveness in adolescents.


auto-aggressiveness, deliberate self-harm, adolescents, family factors, family cohesion

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