Original Paper

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, 36:787

First online:

Associations Among Empathy, Social Competence, & Reactive/Proactive Aggression Subtypes

  • Megan L. MayberryAffiliated withDepartment of Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Email author 
  • , Dorothy L. EspelageAffiliated withUniversity of Illinois

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Differences between proactive and reactive aggression subtypes on self-reported measures of empathy, social competence, and expectation for reward were examined among 433 middle school students (65.4% White, 33.9% Black). As hypothesized, males scored higher on proactive and reactive aggression scales and lower on empathy measures than females. K-means cluster analysis yielded the following four distinct groups: reactive, proactive, proactive/reactive aggressive, and uninvolved. Overall, uninvolved (nonaggressive youth) had higher empathy and social competence scores and lower expectation of reward for the use of aggression. The reactive and proactive groups did not differ significantly on study variables. Limitations and implications are discussed.


Adolescence Aggression Proactive Reactive Empthy Social competence Expectation for reward