Gender differences in relational and physical aggression

Leslie A. Burton1, Jessica Hafetz1, Debra Henninger1
1Fordham University, United States
Cite this article:  Burton, L. A., Hafetz, J., & Henninger, D. (2007). Gender differences in relational and physical aggression. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 35, 41-50.

Volume 35 Issue 1 | e1561 | Published: February 2007 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2007.35.1.41

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A sample of 134 (93 female, 41 male) university students were evaluated with measures of relational and physical aggression, as well as measures of the five personality factors (NEO Five-Factor Inventory; Costa and McCrae, 1992), depression and anxiety (Beck Depression Inventory; Beck, 1987 and Anxiety Inventory; Beck, 1990), and general emotional understanding and functioning (Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory; Bar-On, 1997). Gender differences were found such that the men reported more physical aggression and less Extraversion, with trends for less Neuroticism and less Agreeableness, than the women (NEO-FFI). Additionally, the women had higher Bar-On Interpersonal overall factor scores, including higher scores for the component Empathy, Social Responsibility, and Interpersonal Relationship subscales, than the men. Relational and physical aggression showed different patterns of association with other personality and emotional measures for men and women. In men, higher physical aggression was associated with lower Agreeableness and lower Extraversion. In women, higher physical aggression was associated with higher Conscientiousness, more depression, lower Bar-On EQI Stress Management and higher adaptability. Relational aggression was associated with lower Agreeableness and a lower Bar-On EQI overall score for both men and women. In men, higher relational aggression was additionally associated with more Neuroticism. In women, higher relational aggression was also associated with lower Conscientiousness, and lower Bar-On EQI Interpersonal factor scores.

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