This study examined reciprocal longitudinal relations between trauma‐related distress and physical aggression.
A predominantly African American sample of early adolescents (N=2,271; mean age=12.9) living in an urban, under resourced community participated in this investigation. The study used autoregressive cross-lagged models to examine changes across four waves of data within each grade of middle school. The findings indicate that trauma-related distress uniquely predicted increased levels of physical aggression. This effect was consistent across gender and within and across middle school grades. Conversely, physical aggression did not predict changes in trauma-related distress. This suggests that efforts to prevent violent behavior should screen for trauma-related distress. (publisher abstract modified)