The relationship of negative emotionality, hostile attributional bias, and social orientation to overt and relational aggression

Happy Berdugo-Arstark, Fordham University

Abstract

In this study gender differences in relational and overt aggression were examined. The associations between aggression, negative emotion, hostile attributions, affiliation, and dominance needs variables for boys and girls were also examined. Additionally, the associations between negative emotions and hostile attributions were examined. Finally, the concordance between teacher ratings and children's self-ratings was investigated. ^ Subjects included 128 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade children (48 boys and 80 girls) and 10 teachers (2 men and 8 women) of a regular education school. Children completed self-rating forms: (a) the Hypothetical Situation Instrument (HSI; Crick, 1995) measured distress, anger, and hostile attributions for hypothetical social situations; and (b) the dominance, affiliation, and aggression subscale items of the Personality Research Form-E (PRF-E; Jackson, 1984) measured children's needs for such variables. Teachers also completed forms for child participants: (a) the Children's Social Behavior Scale-Teacher Form (CSBS-T; Crick, 1996) measured relational and overt aggression and (b) the negative emotionality subscale items from the Eisenberg, Fabes, Guthrie, et al. (1996) measure of emotional intensity measured children's intensity of negative emotions. ^ Significant gender differences of relational and overt aggression were not revealed from t-test results. Alternatively, chi-square tests indicated that more girls than boys were classified as relationally aggressive. Furthermore, t-tests indicated that boys had higher self-ratings of overt aggression than girls, and girls had higher self-ratings of dominance needs than boys. Bivariate correlation analyses indicated significant associations between negative emotional intensity and relational and overt aggression, and between hostile attributions and negative emotions (i.e., distress and anger). Cannonical correlation analyses revealed no significant concordance between teacher ratings and children's self-ratings. ^ Findings supported gender differences in relational and overt aggression. Findings were also consistent with cognitive-affective models suggesting an association between negative emotions and hostile attributions. The results hold implications for school psychologists in intervening to decrease relationally and overtly aggressive behaviors among boys and girls. The results emphasize the importance of identifying the collaborative influence of negative emotions and hostile attributions on aggressive behavior in children. The costs and benefits for using teacher ratings and self-ratings in the investigation of relational and overt aggression are also discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Behavioral|Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Happy Berdugo-Arstark, "The relationship of negative emotionality, hostile attributional bias, and social orientation to overt and relational aggression" (January 1, 2002). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3040391.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3040391

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