Aggression an Examination of the Term Paper

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The mean age of participants was 33 years. The ICS was selected because of its superior internal consistency with an alpha of.96 and "strong factorial validity as well as fair construct validity," correlating in the predicted direction with the Generalized Contentment Scale and Index of Family Relations (Abell, 1991).

The asst or Assertiveness Self Statement test, a "32 item instrument designed to measure self statement in assertion related problems" was also selected for purposes of the study (Schwartz & Gottman, 1976).

This test was selected because of strong construct validity which demonstrates how functional and dysfunctional groups differ in their frequency of positive and negative self-statements (Schwartz & Gottman, 1976).

The Aggressive Inventory (AI), a "30 item instrument that measures aggressive traits was also used, where respondent rated items on a five point scale in order to determine whether or not a particular statement applied to them in the context of aggression" (Gladue, 1991). The population examined using this test were 960 undergraduate students enrolled in introductory psychology classes.

A survey approach to the research was conducted in order to provide empirical data with which the researcher could combine information gained from the literature review with information gained from field research in order to draw conclusions regarding the aggressive tendencies and behavioral patterns of participants. From the information acquired from surveys and literature the researcher developed a theory of aggression and behavioral patterns.


The results of the AI study showed that the mean subscale scores for women were PA=1.82; VA=2.58, II=2.68 and Avoid=3.06. For men the results were 2.34 for PA, 3.04 for VA, 2.80 for II and 2.85 for avoid.

Overall the results from the three combined surveys tend to indicate that both men and women were likely to demonstrate aggressive tendencies, which is similar to information presented in the literature review which suggests that both men and women exhibit aggressive tendencies in varying situation (Graham & Wells, 2001). Men were more likely to admit to aggression resulting from irritation and women were more likely to report aggression in response to environmental stimulus or as a reactive response to acts of another person that were perceived as aggressive in nature. This too correlates with information gathered from the research which suggests that women are more likely to demonstrate aggression as a reactive response and that men are more likely to demonstrate aggression in response to reactive and proactive situations or stimuli (Bateman, et. al, 1998).

In addition, within both groups individuals that reported more self-perceived negativity were more likely to admit to aggressive tendencies than those that did not report any negative self-evaluations. Groups that might be considered 'dysfunctional' are more likely to report negative self statements and resulting aggressive tendencies than those that were deemed more functional. This information agrees with statements uncovered in the literature analysis that show that from a young age, individuals with behavioral problems are much more likely to demonstrate aggressive behaviors in adulthood and throughout childhood than those that do not demonstrate behavioral problems early on (Bateman, 1998).


There are many unanswered questions that still exist with regard to aggression and behavior, and additional research may be necessary in the future to help identify more social behaviors that are associated with aggression (Bateman, et. al, 1998; Dodge, 1991). However, from the results of the surveys conducted and literature review conducted with regard to aggression and behavior types, certain conclusions can be drawn. The primary conclusion drawn is that dysfunctional behavior types or patterns often result in aggressive behavior, particularly among men.

There is a strong body of evidence supporting the notion that males are more likely to engage in aggressive activity, particularly aggressive activity that is reactive and proactive, whereas women are more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors as a result of being provoked, thus their aggression is more reactive in nature (Bateman, 1998; Dodge, 1991; Graham & Wells, 2001).

Behavioral characteristics that might influence aggressive behavior include peer pressure or peer rejection, self-esteem issues, provocation, irritability or a history of childhood behavioral problems including emotional upset and deregulation (Bateman, 1998; Hubbard & Coie, 1994).

The results of the survey and literature review provide a preliminary body of evidence which suggests that aggression is more likely to occur in individuals that have demonstrated dysfunctional behavior patterns. Survey participants that are more likely to ascribe dysfunctional behaviors to their activities are also more likely to report a lower self-image or self-esteem. The literature review suggests that such behavioral tendencies might be associated with early experiences of peer rejection or other environmental factors that may affect one's ability to function in a less aggressive manner.

There is ample evidence to suggest that interventions early on to reduce negative self-image and dysfunctional behaviors including irritability, anxiety and over stress might reduce aggressive tendencies. The focus of such interventions might aim specifically at young males, since the majority of evidence collected seems to suggest that males are more likely than females to demonstrate aggressive behaviors.

There is also evidence supporting the notion that males are more likely to engage in aggressive activity without provocation, and to direct their aggression to anyone who is near, including members of the opposite sex, whereas generally females tend to limit their aggressive behaviors toward other females, and this aggression usually stems from provocation or jealousy (Batemen, 1998; Graham & Wells, 2001).

The information derived from this research is critical because it provides a framework from which future researchers and behavioral therapists might approach aggressive behavior and treat individuals who are described as overly aggressive. In addition it explains why some members of the population might be more likely to exhibit aggression than others.

Further studies should involve a more critical examination of the direct relationship between behavior and aggression to determine the most common behaviors that might be described as 'dysfunctional' that contribute to aggressive tendencies in both men and women. Only then will true strides be made toward combating aggressive behaviors and tendencies within the population.


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