Gender and aggression I: Perceptions of aggression

Abstract

To investigate how gender and ethnicity influence evaluation, perceptions, and stereotyping of aggression, two studies were conducted with 115 college students (56% male; 50% Anglo and 26% Hispanic) and 79 individuals (72% male; 92% Anglo) who worked on a military base. Participants were asked to respond to four scenarios depicting aggressive interactions in which the gender of the protagonists varied, give their perceptions of 25 potentially aggressive incidents, and answer questions concerning stereotypes of gender related to these incidents and personal aggressive behaviors. Consistent with previous research on gender and aggression, both studies found that the aggressor, target, and respondent all affected perceptions of aggression and likelihood of aggressive behaviors. Aggression from a male and aggression directed towards a female were particularly likely to be evaluated negatively. Age and educational level were both negatively related to tolerance for aggression, and Anglo vs. Hispanic ethnicity was also associated with perceptions of aggression.

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Correspondence to Mary B. Harris.

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We would like to thank Angela Bennett, Gail Bliss, Kayleigh Carabajal, Julie Depree, Carmen Gonzales, Deborah Good, Scott Griffin, Gladys Herrera, George Selix, Ruth Tangman, and Jon Woodland for their assistance with the development, distribution, and coding of the questionnaire.

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Harris, M.B., Knight-Bohnhoff, K. Gender and aggression I: Perceptions of aggression. Sex Roles 35, 1–25 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01548172

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Keywords

  • College Student
  • Social Psychology
  • Educational Level
  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Aggressive Interaction