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Acting Out: Understanding and Reducing Aggressive Behaviour in Children and Youth

Aggression among young people is an important social issue. Fortunately, early intervention and treatment can significantly reduce the risk of harmful outcomes. Acting Out:

  • explains various types of aggressive behaviour exhibited by young people
  • identifies factors related to aggressive behaviour
  • distinguishes between normal aggression and aggression that is of greater concern
  • gives practical advice on how to address aggression in children and youth
  • highlights proven prevention and intervention strategies and indicates strategies to avoid
  • discusses the assessment and diagnosis of more serious aggressive behaviour in young people.

Acting Out is a valuable tool for anyone who works with young people, including teachers and school administrators, day-care and recreation centre workers, youth shelter workers, social service workers, sports coaches, youth leaders, and camp counsellors and directors.

Acting Out has been awarded Curriculum Services Canada's Seal of Quality, recommending it as a reference for educators and others who work or volunteer in schools.

Excerpts from Acting Out: Understanding and Reducing Aggressive Behaviour in Children and Youth are available by following the links below. (Unlinked items are not available online.)

Contents (PDF version only)

About the editor


Preface / PDF version

Chapter 1: Introduction / PDF version

Chapter 2: About aggression

Chapter 3: Understanding aggression

Chapter 4: “Normal” aggression

Chapter 5: When is aggression a concern?

Chapter 6: Assessment

Chapter 7: Prevention and intervention

Chapter 8: Diagnosis




About the editor

David A. Wolfe, PhD, holds the inaugural RBC Chair in Children’s Mental Health at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). He is a Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Toronto and Head of the CAMH Centre for Prevention Science. David has broad research and clinical interests in abnormal child and adolescent psychology, with a special focus on child abuse, domestic violence and developmental psychopathology. He and his colleagues (Peter Jaffe, Claire Crooks and Ray Hughes) are currently evaluating “The Fourth R,” a comprehensive school-based initiative for reducing adolescent violence and related risk behaviours through the promotion of positive, non-violent relationships.

David is the 2005 recipient of the Canadian Psychological Association’s Donald O. Hebb Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology as a Science. He is Editor-in-Chief of Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal. His recent books include Adolescent Risk Behaviors: Why Teens Experiment and Strategies to Keep Them Safe (with Peter Jaffe and Claire Crooks; Yale University Press, 2006); Child Abuse: Implications for Child Development and Psychopathology, 2nd edition (Sage, 1999); and Abnormal Child Psychology, 3rd edition (with Eric Mash; Wadsworth, 2005).


Many CAMH clinicians in the Child, Youth and Family Program contributed their breadth of knowledge and practical experience to the development of this book. Their guidance and input shaped the content and forms the core of the book.

Drafts were reviewed by people with scientific or clinical expertise about the topic and by people who are the intended audience for the publication.

ISBN: 978-0-88868-532-2 (PRINT)
ISBN: 978-0-88868-587-2 (PDF)
ISBN: 978-0-88868-588-9 (HTML)

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