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Journal Article

Citation

Archer J, Parker S. Aggressive Behav. 1994; 20(2): 101-114.

Copyright

(Copyright © 1994, International Society for Research on Aggression, Publisher John Wiley and Sons)

DOI

unavailable

PMID

unavailable

Abstract

Adult men and women endorse different sets of thoughts, beliefs and emotions ('social representations') about their aggression. Study 1 investigated whether this was also the case for children. A modified version of a questionnaire designed by Campbell et al. [(1992) Aggressive Behavior 18:95-108] for adults was administered to 8-11 year olds to determine whether they viewed their own aggressive acts in terms of instrumental (male) or expressive (female) representations, as had been found for adults. This was found to be the case, but there were no age differences and no interaction of sex and age. The modified questionnaire showed similar internal consistency to the original, and the effect size for sex was similar to that found for adults. It was noted that the questionnaire is biased toward physical aggression and hence toward an activity compatible with the masculine role. In study 2, the questionnaire was reworded to refer to indirect aggression (which is more characteristic of girls) and presented to substantially the same sample. Again, girls showed higher expressive scores than boys, although the sex difference was diminished. This supported the view that there is a general sex difference in reactions to aggressive or hostile acts, independent of their form. However, analysis of individual questionnaire items showed that it was lack of emotional control and subsequent regrets about the act that most clearly distinguished the sexes. It is argued that these differences arise from more general gender role characteristics rather than being specific to aggression.

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