Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 64-66


  • Janett M. NaylorAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Fort Hays State University Email author 


Anger; Antagonism; Assault; Bullying; Hostility; Violence


Any type of behavior or action that is used to harm or dominate another.


Aggression is part of human nature; therefore, all children must learn to deal with their own aggression and the aggression of others. Even though aggression is an innate component of all human societies, societies vary in degree of acceptance and condemnation of aggressive acts. In addition to variations in societies, individuals vary in their levels of aggression. Great debate surrounds what constitutes aggressive actions. For example, is intention necessary for an act to be considered aggressive? Should the context be accounted for? When does an action change from play to aggression? Aggression is a complex and rather elusive field of study.

Aggression can come in many forms, such as verbal, physical, relational, can be committed by groups or individuals, can be emotional or non-emotional, and can be ...

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