Our past and current research has focused on determining risk factors and biomarkers of pediatric aggression. As the first step, we developed the Brief Rating of Aggression by Children and Adolescents (BRACHA) which is predictive, valid, and reliable. Then, in a recent pilot study, we found a correlation between salivary hormone levels, BRACHA scores, and levels of pediatric aggression (measured with the Overt Aggression Scale (OAS) each shift) on the inpatient units.
We have recently completed prospective data collection on over 3,000 unique psychiatrically hospitalized children and adolescents. In this database, we have BRACHA scores, OAS scores for each shift, and other clinical/demographic information. By analyzing this large database on aggression, we will be able to further validate the BRACHA and determine which items are most predictive of aggression.
For the current pediatric aggression study, we are collecting fMRI data, salivary hormone levels, and BRACHA data on 11 child and adolescent participants to establish feasibility. Thus far, we have established the feasibility of the fMRI scan for pediatric aggression which measures brain activity during a frustrating task (the affective Posner task).