Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Paula McMurray-Schwarz

Second Advisor

Carla Peterson


The purpose of this study was to describe the real and pretend aggression exhibited by 20 middle-class children in a full-day kindergarten. A qualitative analysis was used to discover the sequence of aggressive episodes and how children executed aggressive acts within the episodes. Boys displayed the majority of aggressive behaviors, but only a small group of boys consistently participated in both real and pretend aggression. In episodes of pretend aggression, the aggressor was most likely to shoot, threaten, hit, or blow up a person, object, or imaginary character. In contrast, the aggressor was most likely to grab, taunt, name-call, push, or throw in episodes of real aggression. In both types of aggressive episodes, the target frequently provided the aggressor with information, but the target was also likely to move away from the aggressor or leave the play area in episodes of real aggression. Teachers intervened in more episodes of real aggression than in episodes of pretend aggression. In both pretend and real aggression, teachers intervened by providing directions, asking questions, and stating rules. Finally, the children were more likely to stay together than separate after an episode of pretend aggression, but they were just as likely to separate as they were to stay together in episodes of real aggression.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Heidi Lin Malloy



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

226 pages