Poor response inhibition and peer victimization: A neurocognitive ecophenotype of risk for adolescent interpersonal aggression.

Relationship between poor inhibitory control and adolescent interpersonal difficulties is well-documented. However, the way in which an emotionally neutral cognitive process (i.e., response inhibition) can lead to interpersonal difficulties is less clear. The current study is based on multimodal longitudinal data from 3,826 adolescents followed over a 4-year period. The main aim of this study was to examine an ecophenotype conceptualization of the association between response inhibition and bullying perpetration through increasing vulnerability of peer victimization and a negative attributional style toward self and others. To test for potential mediations, we first tested the independent effects of the main predictor (response inhibition) and proposed mediators (victimization, hostile automatic thoughts, and self esteem). Multilevel models highlighted independent effects of response inhibition, hostility-related automatic thoughts, and self-esteem in susceptibility to peer victimization and bullying perpetration, both in terms of general liability and fluctuations at each time point over the 4-year period (i.e., between and within person effects). Moreover, results from multivariate multilevel path model were in line with the ecophenotype conceptualization. Indirect effects indicated that general liability of peer victimization mediated the effect of poor response inhibition on bullying perpetration. Likewise, general liability and concurrent fluctuations in hostility-related automatic thoughts and self-esteem mediated the effect of peer victimization on bullying perpetration. The current study highlights the need for a comprehensive understanding of bullying perpetration which is only possible through consideration of individual characteristics along with environmental factors. This framework has the potential to inform targeted intervention strategies aimed at reducing peer-to-peer violence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)