, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 787-798
Date: 25 Jul 2006

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

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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.

Graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received her M.S. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her main research interests are in youth aggression, specifically the influence of social cognitive factors and peer groups on adolescent aggression.
Associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University. Her major research interests focus on several health related behavior, including bullying and youth aggression and disordered eating in adolescents.