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/ag·gres·sion/ (ah-gresh´un) behavior leading to self-assertion; it may arise from innate drives and/or a response to frustration, and may be manifested by destructive and attacking behavior, by hostility and obstructionism, or by self-expressive drive to mastery.
Dorland's Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers. © 2007 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.
Aggression in Adolescent Dating Relationships: Prevalence, Justification, and Health Consequences Journal of Adolescent Health, Volume 40, Issue 4, Pages 298-304 M. Muñoz-Rivas, J. Graña, K. O’Leary, M. González Copyright © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved
Purpose To assess the prevalence of verbally and physically aggressive behaviors in dating relationships in a sample of Spanish adolescents. Methods Cross-sectional self-report data were obtained with The Modified Conflict Tactics Scale (MCTS) from a representative sample of 2416 adolescents and young adults of both genders, between ages of 16 and 20 years. Results The results showed that a significantly higher percentage of women engaged in verbal aggression (95.3% vs. 92.8%), whereas the males engaged in more severe physical aggression (4.6% vs. 2.0%) and produced worse consequences for their female partners’ health (especially slight cuts/slight bruises, broken nose, black eye, broken bone and requiring medical treatment/hospitalization). Justification for aggression also revealed differential results. Whereas women said they attacked their partners while under the influence of emotional states of intense anger (22.4% vs. 13.9%), the males said they did so in response to aggression received (13.0% vs. 6.6%). The analysis of the group differences as a function of age showed that verbal aggression was very high and was not different across the age groups. In contrast, physical aggression decreased significantly across the age groups, but health consequences became more severe with age (e.g., broken nose, black eye, broken bone, went from 1% at 16 years to 4.5% at 20 years of age). Conclusions These differential tendencies of aggression typology for men and women help clinicians to develop preventive interventions for every age, with the aim of diminishing their continuity in future relationships.
Child Abuse Negl. 2009 Jul;33(7):451-60. Epub 2009 Jul 8.
Experiences of psychological and physical aggression in adolescent romantic relationships: links to psychological distress.
Jouriles EN, Garrido E, Rosenfield D, McDonald R.
Department of Psychology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275-0442, USA.
OBJECTIVE: This research examined links between adolescents' experiences of psychological and physical relationship aggression and their psychological distress. Experiences of psychological and physical aggression were expected to correlate positively with symptoms of psychological distress, but experiences of psychological aggression were expected to partially account for the association between experiences of physical aggression and psychological distress. In addition, psychological aggression was hypothesized to be perceived as more unpleasant and less playful than physical aggression. METHOD: Participants were 125 high school students. Relationship aggression was assessed over an 8-week period using two methods: (1) a retrospective method based on a single assessment at the end of the 8-week period, and (2) a cumulative method based on multiple assessments conducted during the 8-week period. Adolescents' appraisals of the aggression were also measured, as were their reports of symptoms of psychological distress. RESULTS: Adolescents' experiences of psychological and physical relationship aggression correlated positively, but inconsistently, with their symptoms of psychological distress. In analyses considering both forms of aggression simultaneously, psychological aggression was related to adolescents' distress, but physical aggression was not. This finding emerged across both methods of assessing for relationship aggression. Psychological aggression was more likely than physical aggression to be rated as unpleasant, and less likely to be attributed to the partner "playing around." CONCLUSIONS: The study of adolescent relationship aggression will benefit by expanding the focus of aggression to include psychological aggression as well as physical aggression, and by examining adolescents' appraisals of the aggression they experience. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: The findings highlight the importance of a broad view of aggression in adolescent relationships. Psychological aggression appears to be at least as important to adolescent well-being as physical aggression in dating relationships. In addition, it may be useful to consider how adolescents' interpret the intent of the aggression that they experience.
PMID: 19589597 [PubMed - in process]
Adolescent female aggression
Adobe Acrobat version (PDF 10KB) Research summary Vol. 5 No. 3 May 2000
Is the aggression of adolescent girls different from the aggression of adolescent boys?
Fear of crime has considerable influence on the behaviour of people and the actions of governments. Citizens may curtail walking at night, add security alarms to their homes and avoid driving in certain areas. Governments improve policing and introduce interventions to reduce criminal behaviour. Fear of crime committed by youthful offenders is particularly high. Even though the fear of crime is high, officially reported crime has actually been decreasing in recent years. Violent crime among young offenders in Canada has also decreased during the last five years. However, since 1995 violent crime among female youths has risen whereas the rate for male youths has fallen. While adolescent males continue to commit more crimes than adolescent females, the accelerated rate among adolescent females raises questions as to the cause and nature of this aggression-gender gap. Improved
understanding of adolescent aggression, especially the aggressive acts committed by young women, would lead to more effective policies and practices designed to reduce adolescent violence.
A literature review on the prediction and assessment of aggression by girls between the ages of 12 to 17 was conducted. This age range defines the ages of young offenders in Canada. Forty-six studies published between 1991 and 1999 provided information on the factors associated with adolescent female aggression. This information was further grouped into eight categories (e.g., cognition, family, school, etc.). The studies were all published in English but reflected an international literature that included reports from diverse countries such as Finland and Australia.
From the literature review, it was apparent that the form of aggression can differ between boys and girls. Males are far more likely to engage in physical aggression than females. However, recent research has broadened the definition of aggression to include verbal threats and intimidation that is intended to disrupt social relationships. When threats and intimidation are considered, girls are found to be more aggressive than previously thought. Moreover, evidence suggests the possibility that as some girls age, the form of aggression shifts from verbal threats and gossip intended to harm relationships to physical aggression. Regardless of the form of aggression displayed, there is remarkable similarity in the factors associated with aggressive behaviour for males and females. For example, parental aggression, antisocial peers and behavioural and academic problems in school were all associated with aggressive behaviour among girls just as these variables are found related to violence among boys. There were also a few notable differences. Young, depressed women were nearly four times more likely to be aggressive and girls who were physically or sexually victimised were at a higher risk for violence.
1. Crime prevention and treatment programs need to be attentive to the different ways that young women express aggressive behaviour. Targeting indirect, non-physical forms of aggressive behaviour may prevent direct, physical forms of violence. 2. Verbal aggression and intimidation among pre-adolescent girls may be helpful in identifying those who run the risk of developing into physically violent adolescents. 3. Interventions designed to prevent female adolescent violence should target not only factors associated with male adolescent violence but also depression and victimisation, factors specific to female aggression.
Leschied, A., Cummings, A., Van Brunschot, M., Cunningham, A., & Saunders, A. (2000). Female Adolescent Aggression: A Review of the Literature and the Correlates of Aggression (User Report No. 2000-04). Ottawa: Solicitor General Canada.
For further information
James Bonta, Ph.D. Solicitor General Canada 340 Laurier Avenue West Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P8 Tel (613) 991-2831
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Abstract: Previous studies have repeatedly found that aggression causes various internalizing and externalizing problems. Despite the robust relationship, exactly how aggression causes these problems remains unclear, although it is plausible to postulate that this occurs both directly and indirectly (via other behavioural factors). One possible indirect factor might be the aggravation of peer relations. The poor peer relations of aggressive children could make them isolated psychologically or physically from peers, which in turn might result in depressive or disruptive problems. This study examined the relationships between three types of aggression and peer relations in Japanese elementary school children. The three aggression types comprised reactive-expressive (i.e., verbal and physical aggression), reactiveinexpressive (e.g., hostility), and proactive-relational aggression (i.e., aggression that can break human relationships, for instance, by circulating malicious rumours). Participants were 1581 children in grades 4 to 6 (752 boys and 829 girls), all of whom completed the Proactive-Reactive Aggression Questionnaire for Children to measure three types of aggression and the Peer Relation Questionnaire to measure peer relations (mutual understanding, self-disclosure, and similarity of taste) and number of friends. ssssss Hierarchical regression analyses of the data showed that higher scores of relational aggression were significantly associated with higher scores of all of the peer relations and the number of friends, and that higher scores of inexpressive aggression were significantly associated with lower scores of all except for selfdisclosure in the peer relations. These findings suggest that among the three types of aggression, relational aggression leads to the best friendship in both dyadic relations and the number of friends, whereas inexpressive aggression to the poorest friendship.
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