The debate of gender differences in aggression – Psychology Research Paper

The debate of gender differences in aggression – Psychology Research Paper

ABSTRACT -Are males really more physically aggressive than females? This study is a partial replication of Stephenson (1997), who found that males were more readily physically aggressive whereas females were more readily verbally aggressive in aggression-inducing situations. Stephenson (1997) obtained her results by
portraying anger and aggression on a questionnaire as mutually exclusive acts. This defies both everyday experiences of feeling anger before aggression, as well as much literature that empirically supports these experiences.

Secondly, there is much evidence of females being just as, if not more, physically aggressive than males. Finally, there is research which proposes a range of other motives that precede aggression besides anger, thereby undermining Stephenson’s (1997) core presumption that anger is the only likely motive of aggression. Accordingly, a revised questionnaire allowed participant’s to simultaneously rate their anger and aggression orientated responses on hypothetical aggression-inducing situations, and specifically tapped into the types of aggression that are debated to differ between males and females by including separate Verbal Aggression and Physical Aggression scales. Results revealed there to be no differences between males and females in terms of their respective ratings of anger, verbal aggression, and physical aggression. Also, it was found that anger always correlated with some form of aggression, regardless of gender, indicating that anger was the only motive. Future research must pursue individual threads of research into other established influences on aggression, and investigate any relationships between them in order to accurately expand our knowledge of the role and importance of anger to aggression. The current results are compatible with the evidence of no gender differences in any type of aggression, and though the questionnaire’s dimensions are generally under-established to provide any clear idea of situations under which gender differences may be found, they represent a new area for research to expand into with an eye for such differences.

CONTENTS

Introduction………………………. …………………………………… 6
Method…………………………… ………………………………….. 19
Results…………………………… ………………………………….. 26
Discussion……………………….. ………………………………….. 33

Appendix
Sample Questionnaire
Raw Data Sample – Items 1 and 2; Participant’s 1 to 42

T-test – All Dimensions; All Scales (Both Genders)
Pearson Correlation – All Dimensions; 2-Tailed (Both Genders)
Pearson Correlation – All Dimensions; 2-Tailed (Males)
Pearson Correlation – All Dimensions; 2-Tailed (Females)
Reliability Test – All Dimensions

T-test – Situations Beyond One’s Control; All Scales (Both Genders)
Pearson Correlation – Situations Beyond One’s Control; 2-Tailed (Both Genders)
Pearson Correlation – Situations Beyond One’s Control; 2-Tailed (Males)
Pearson Correlation – Situations Beyond One’s Control; 2-Tailed (Females)
Reliability Test – Situations Beyond One’s Control

T-test – Interpersonal Discrepancies; All Scales (Both Genders)
Pearson Correlation – Interpersonal Discrepancies; 2-Tailed (Both Genders)
Pearson Correlation – Interpersonal Discrepancies; 2-Tailed (Males)
Pearson Correlation – Interpersonal Discrepancies; 2-Tailed (Females)
Reliability Test – Interpersonal Discrepancies

T-test – Personal Issues; All Scales (Both Genders)
Pearson Correlation – Personal Issues; 2-Tailed (Both Genders)
Pearson Correlation – Personal Issues; 2-Tailed (Males)
Pearson Correlation – Personal Issues; 2-Tailed (Females)
Reliability Test – Personal Issues

T-test – Physical Uncomfortability; All Scales (Both Genders)
Pearson Correlation – Physical Uncomfortability; 2-Tailed (Both Genders)
Pearson Correlation – Physical Uncomfortability; 2-Tailed (Males)
Pearson Correlation – Physical Uncomfortability; 2-Tailed (Females)
Reliability Test – Physical Uncomfortability

INTRODUCTION

Defining Aggression
In a typical discussion of a phenomenon, the first thing that is mentioned is its definition to clarify the focus of the article and provide a foundation on which to base a discussion. When considering aggression, this first step is not a standard one, because most layman’s definitions are inadequate. Indeed, most would agree with Buss’s (1961) definition of aggression as “a response that delivers noxious stimuli to another organism”. However, advocates of this view are ignorant to other factors that are key.
An efficient definition of aggression must first include an intent to harm on behalf of the aggressor. Buss’s (1961) definition lacks this specification of a psychological source that is responsible for the aversive response. Indeed, one of the key models of aggression by Dollard et al (1939), the frustration-aggression hypothesis, argues that “Aggression is an act whose goal-response is injury to an organism”, which clearly suggests an element of motivation behind the aggression, making the final aggressive response a set of deliberately harmful acts. Essentially therefore, a harmful action without a goal-response, or a deliberate intention, is not an aggressive act.
This key factor can be built on by including a second one that is often ignored. The definition must also include a motivation on behalf of the victim to avoid the harmful intent of the aggressor (Baron & Richardson 1994). Again, Buss (1961) fails to consider this factor by instead portraying the victim is merely a receiver of aggression. Hence, the definition fails to consider the commonality of situations where a person may tolerate the aggression they receive.
An efficient definition, having considered Buss’s (1961) original one and the key factors that it excludes, would constitute a working definition of aggression being the delivery of an aversive stimulus from one person to another, with intent to harm and with the victim receiving the harm to be motivated to avoid this aversive stimulus. Regardless, such a definition is a working one because it neglects the role of emotions and cognitive judgements in aggression, as well as the common occurrence of an aggressive situation being reciprocal. Its main advantage, however, is its ability to account for any form of aggression, as in, verbal or physical because either type can be actuated as intent to harm another person against that person’s wishes.
The original investigation by Stephenson (1997), of which this study is a partial replication, ignored the above discussed issues of the dynamics of aggression, because the original questionnaire used to obtain one set of results forced participant’s to choose whether their response to a hypothetical aggression-inducing situation would be either verbally aggressive or physically aggressive, thereby not allowing participants to choose both. This mutual exclusivity demonstrates Stephenson’s (1997) ignorance to consider what an efficient definition of aggression must include and, on this premise, ignorance to that fact that both verbal aggression and physical aggression can co-occur.

The Provoking of Aggression
In addressing the definition of aggression, the next step is to consider what provokes aggression. The consideration of the provocation effectively acts as an extension of the definition of aggression because a phenomena such as this cannot be understood by merely describing its expression. Therefore, an effective discussion of aggression must consider how people become potentially aggressive beings, as well as what stimulants, be they objects or situations, elicit their aggressive responses.
The current study works on Dollard et al’s (1939) frustration-aggression hypothesis, which states that frustration produces a condition of readiness or instigation to aggress, and that aggression is always preceded by some form of frustration (Hovland & Sears 1940; Landau & Raveh 1987; Landau 1988; Novaco 1991; Chen & Spector 1992; Catalano et al 1993). The current author expands on this hypothesis by arguing that anger is one such form that frustration manifests itself in and can occur as an isolated phenomenon from aggression, as in, not inevitably co-occurring with an aggressive action in a given situation. This expansion is reflected in the current study’s demarcation of anger from aggression, as represented by the three separate scales for each item for ‘Anger’, ‘Verbal Aggression’, and ‘Physical Aggression’. Geen (2001) argued that “although anger has a physiological side, manifested in what we today call autonomic arousal and experienced as painful feelings, this is not its most important characteristic. What is most important for aggression is the person’s understanding of how he or she has been treated by the other and how that treatment has caused the pain that is being felt”. Despite the dominant presumption that anger acts as a motivational emotion that instigates aggression, it is essential to consider viewpoints opposed to this one. In doing so, should some results fit alternative conceptions of anger’s relation to aggression, they will be able to be discussed with an eye to re-evaluating the currently dominant conceptualisation of anger and act as identifiable directions for future research.
Averill (1982) firmly argues against the apparently necessary connection between anger an aggression, and instead advocates the notion of anger being a socially constructed state. According to Averill (1982), anger has socially defined objectives, such as retribution for an actual or imagined misdeed, and people become angry with other members of society who go against or break acceptable norms of behaviour of a given culture or society. Anger is argued to be aroused in both an objective sense as well as being interpreted in a way that instigates the feeling of anger, whereby a person who is physically assaulted by another interprets the attack for what it is and label’s it as such. In doing so, the victim’s feelings are determined by socially acceptable rules that the victim is not only aware of but aware that such rules have been broken in his or her target of aggression, as in, a feeling of anger.
Novaco (1994) also opposes the apparent importance of anger by portraying it as the expression of an emotional experience which collectively represents both physiological and cognitive arousal, which one would label as the result of being antagonised. Such a labelling process is an automatic reaction to the perception of the aggressive act. As such, if a provocative action elicits an increase in arousal, then that action is instantly encoded by the victim as a feeling of anger. Novaco (1994) further argues that anger is not a sufficient or necessary cause of aggression, but merely an important one in it’s elicitation. Furthermore, he argues that aggression is not ultimately triggered by anger, and anger as a singular emotional phenomena does not inherently produce aggression if the given person does not have a social history which makes such aggressive behaviour likely.

Aggression as a Social Act
Aggression is ultimately a social act, in either it’s physical or verbal form – a “physical force or threat of physical force that results in physical or non-physical harm to one or more person’s…against the will or without the consent of the other person or person’s” (Weiner, Zahn, & Sagi 1990), or a behaviour directed towards the goal of harming or injuring another living being who is motivated to avoid such treatment (Baron 1977). Though such definitions may not be superior to the earlier revised definition of aggression, they both satisfy the goal of clearly emphasising the social nature of aggression. As a means of providing a foundation on which to consider moderating variables in aggression, several significant socialisation theories and findings of aggression are reviewed.
The most relevant of these theories is arguably Bandura’s (1973; 1977) social learning theory, which applies to all behaviour, including aggression, by arguing that it is determined by observing, and thereby learning from, the behaviour of another and noting a reward for that behaviour. Bandura claims that observation becomes behaviour by storing that behaviour in memory. The symbols of this behaviour in memory are then converted into actions similar to the behaviour that has been retained in memory. The final stage of the social learning process involves the repetition of the retained behaviour, which is determined by whether it causes reinforcement or punishment and if the person is motivated enough to perform the behaviour (Bandura 1977). With reference to aggression, those who perceive aggressive behaviour as a source of pride or self-esteem may act violently to experience the self-satisfaction that is associated with acting aggressively (Parke & Slaby 1983). Bandura’s (1973) theory rests on the notion of reinforcement or punishment of an observed person, or a ‘model’ of the behaviour that the observing person may be retaining in memory depending on the outcome of the observed person’s behaviour. If another person is seen to behave aggressively and receive some kind of reward (e.g. praise from others), then there is a high probability that this observed person will act as a ‘model’ of acceptable behaviour that the observer will store in memory to enact in the future. Bandura (1973) proposed three specific such models that increase the likelihood of aggressive behaviour – family, subculture (for example, peer groups), and culture, represented by things like television and films. There is plenty of evidence to support the notion of these specific models influencing the likelihood of aggressive behaviour, such as Gully et al (1981), Kalmuss (1984), and Farrington (1991) citing the significance of aggressive family behaviour, Cairns & Cairns (1991) finding influences of peer groups, and Huesmann et al (1992), Eron et al (1972), and Goldstein (1986) who find influences of cultural symbols such as television and films.
Patterson’s (Patterson 1982; Patterson et al 1989, 1991) theory of the importance of parental and family interactions, both draws on, and lends credibility to, Bandura’s notion of the reinforcement of models. Patterson based his theory on the consistent finding of families with aggressive children exhibiting high levels of parental and child coercive behaviour. Parents were harsh and inconsistent in their application of discipline, were less positively involved with their children, and were less effective in supervising their children’s aggression (Patterson & Dishion 1985; Loeber & Dishion 1983; Morton 1987). Patterson derived from these consistent findings that this kind of family is training the child to behave aggressively via the interactions between the parents and the child which are constantly forceful and can frequently lead to physical attacks. Accordingly, the child learns to apply forceful behaviour to escape such negative situations and gradually learns to control situations with other family members via such forceful interactions, thereby reinforcing the behaviour, with the parent’s being the relevant responsible models.

The Debate Of Sex Differences
Having currently reached a stage in which apparent explanations of aggression can be argued to particularly male-orientated, an appropriate foundation for the discussion of the debate over sex differences in aggression has now been laid. Accordingly, one must now consider the variously proposed avenues of differences between male and female aggression that the literature into the issue has provided, and then consider it in relation to evidence that undermines such avenues.
Advocates of the biological perspective of gender differences argue that biological differences between males and females inherently predispose them to exhibit significant differences in aggression intensity and expression. Hormonal research has received much attention for proposed biological gender differences because the findings of various studies, as well as the purpose of the hormones themselves, are debatable. On the one hand, consistent positive correlations between testosterone level and the level of aggression among males have been found (Dabbs et al 1987; Dabbs & Morris 1990), as well as hormone levels positively correlating with observer- and self-ratings of aggression among males (Susman et al 1987; Gladue 1991). Conversely, dissenters argue against the biological perspective completely and instead take a social-cognitive stance by arguing that the influences of society and unique cognitive elements have a far bigger influence (Campbell et al 1997). There is evidence which indirectly supports such claims, whereby the presumed direction of causality of hormones causing aggression is undermined by studies indicating the reverse relationship (Mazur & Lamb 1980; Salvador et al 1987). There is also debate on whether hormones are directly related to increases in aggression, or whether they merely increase a readiness for the person to become aggressive in response to adequate provocation. Van Goozen et al’s (1994) finding is exemplary of this debate’s rationale, when the study manipulated the testosterone levels of female-to-male sex-change treatments, and found that there were no changes in the general self-reported levels of aggression but significant increases in the self-reported proneness to behave aggressively in reaction to hypothetical aggression-provoking situations. Furthermore, Van Goozen et al (1995) found an increase in aggression proneness in a female-to-male group after treatment as well as an opposite decrease in aggression proneness in a male-to-female group, all in response to hypothetically aggression-provoking situations. It is safe to infer from this reviewed evidence that there is much debate over the relationship of hormones to aggression. There are conflicting conclusions between the likes of Dabbs et al (1987) and Susman et al (1987) with Mazur & Lamb (1980) and Salvador et al (1987), which is further complicated by Van Goozen et al’s (1994; 1995) evidence that strikes against the presumed direct link between aggression and hormones that underlies all of these studies, by arguing for hormones merely influencing, rather than governing, aggression. The causal link remains uncertain between hormones and aggression, but nevertheless utilises predictions of aggression when a given situation most typically provokes a person to behave aggressively. Therefore, hormones should be cautiously interpreted as only a ‘background’ variable of the likelihood of aggression between males and females.
Many reviews have been performed into the literature of the social acceptability of aggression in relation to gender-prescribed behavioural norms, but Frodi et al (1977) illustrates one of the clearer pictures of the differences between these norms. Frodi et al (1977) concluded that both males and females were less likely to act aggressively against another female than against a male, that females were more likely to perceive aggression as more inappropriate than males, that females were more likely to aim to repress aggression more than males, being more likely than males to feel guilt after an aggressive act, as well as differing in terms of how they interpreted, assessed, and reacted to aggression-inducing situations. Geen (2001) interprets this exemplary review as indicative of how males and females behave in accordance with socially defined norms in judging aggression and the affective states which accompany it.
Another particularly prevalent area of research into the differences between male and female aggression is that which investigates the qualitative differences in the situations that provoke males and females into behaving aggressively. A study by Paul et al (1993) found females to get more aggressive than men towards unfaithful partner’s and other rival’s for their partner’s attention. Bettencourt & Miller’s (1996) review illustrated that men were more aggressive than women in neutral conditions, as well as specific types of provocation highlighting sex differences in aggression. Whereas with women physical attacks and insults elicited far more aggression than when a verbal attack was made on her the self esteem, males reacted equally aggressive to attacks on their self-esteem as much as their physical selves, which were both more than the aggression in response to an insult. The review further showed that men were more aggressive than women when physical aggression was available to them, but were equally aggressive as each other when verbal aggression was involved. Eagly & Steffen’s (1986) meta-analysis illustrated the importance of personal perceptions of the effects of their aggression between males and females. It was found that females were significantly less physically aggressive than men when they feel that they will bring harm to the victim, or themselves, or predict feelings of guilt or anxiety, thereby illustrating that personal gender-related beliefs can have a significant effect on the extent to which aggression is expressed. The researcher’s concluded that the differences between such gender-related beliefs are amplified in situations involving physical aggression, which is consistent with the frequent finding of males being highly more likely to be significantly more aggressive than females when aggression is physical in nature. Ultimately, the types of provocation leading to aggression and the beliefs behind the perceived consequences of the aggression expressed illustrate that males and females differ in terms of the type of aggression that they typically prefer to exhibit, whereby males prefer to use physical aggression more than females, who prefer to be more verbally aggressive.

Correlations Between Sex and Types of Aggression
As has just been illustrated, each gender has a typically preferred method of aggression to use, further, and more importantly, illustrating that it would be highly erroneous to treat aggression as a singular, or general, phenomenon. With sex differences within aggression being the debate that it is, and having considered the arguments for significant differences across various variables (for example, in terms of provocation and beliefs of consequences), it would be erroneous to not consider the evidence against such specific differences.
There is substantial evidence that reports no differences in the use of physical aggression between males and females. Burke, Stets, & Pirog-Good (1988) reported “no significant difference between men and women in reporting inflicting or sustaining physical abuse”, while a review by Flynn (1990) concluded that “researchers consistently have found that men and women in relationships, both marital and premarital engage in comparable amounts of violence”, Henton et al (1983) found that both partners in a relationship initiated physical aggression at similar rates to each other, which was also found by Kwong, Bartholomew, & Dutton (1999) who reported similar rates of male and female violence in dating relationships, as well as White & Koss (1991) finding that 37% of males and 35% of females inflicted physical aggression on another, and Vivian & Langhinrichsen-Rohling (1996) finding no significant differences between husbands’ and wives’ reports concerning the frequency and severity of physical aggression,
The literature also contains substantial evidence of females being more physically aggressive than males. Archer’s (2000) meta-analysis concluded that women were more likely than men to “use one or more acts of physical aggression and to use such acts more frequently”, while Harders et al (1998) found females to be significantly more physically aggressive than males in terms of pushing, slapping, and punching, Thompson (1990) found 24.6% of males compared to 28.4% of females expressing physical aggression toward their dating partners, Follingstad, Wright, & Sebastian (1991) found that females were twice as likely to report perpetrating physical aggression as males, and Foshee (1996) finding 27.8% of females compared to 15.0% of males reported being physically aggressive. Also, Arias, Samios, & O’Leary (1987) found a higher proportion of females to males as behaving severely physically aggressive, while DeMaris (1992) concluded “when one partner could be said to be the usual initiator of violence, that partner was most often the women”. Such studies over the last fifteen to twenty years are consistent with longitudinal studies such as Straus & Kaufman-Kantor (1994) who found that the trend of decreasing severe assaults by husbands found in the National Survey from 1975 to 1985 has continued in the 1992 version of the survey, while wives maintained higher rates of assault. Such longitudinal findings bare resemblance to Stets & Henderson (1991) finding females to be “six times more likely than men to use severe aggression”, Bland & Orne (1986) finding that females both acted and initiated physical violence at a higher percentage than males, Bookwala et al (1992) finding that females reported initiating violence with non-aggressive partners more often than males, and Brush (1990) finding that females engage in the same amount of spousal violence as females. Similarly, Sommer (1994) found 21% of “males’ and 13% of females’ partners required medical attention as a result of a partner abuse incident”, and Simonelli & Ingram (1998) found that 40% of males reporting being the victim of physical aggression from female partners also reported greater levels of distress and depression than women.

The Hypothesis
Such consistent evidence as outlined above which is contrary to the earlier described studies that illustrate males to be more physically aggressive than females, clearly illustrates an ongoing debate as to which picture is more representative of the true nature of different types of aggression proportionate to males and females. As such, the motivation of the current study is to investigate this issue further, with a focus on the distinction between physical and verbal aggression. This is investigated in relation to the debate over anger being a prerequisite to aggression, as well as to whether physical aggression is a final potential stage that follows from verbal aggression, which has itself followed from feelings of anger or frustration.
The evidence that suggests males are more physically aggressive than females acts as a direct contrast to the evidence that suggests females can be just as, if not more, physically aggressive than males. There are three probable outcomes for this study, given the prevalent evidence in the literature – males being more physically aggressive, while females are more verbally aggressive; females being no less physically aggressive than males; females being more physically aggressive than males. The current author argues that Stephenson’s (1997) methodological flaws detract a lot of the reliability from its conclusions, which makes its contribution to efficiently resolving the debate little more than null, and so therefore would have more likely found there to be at least no differences in the types of aggression used between males and females had the questionnaire not been flawed. Furthermore, this possibility is compatible with two of the three probable outcomes that disputes the research that has revealed sex differences, thereby making the finding of males being more physically aggressive and females more verbally aggressive less likely in proportion to all of the probable findings. Ultimately, being as it more likely to find that there will be at least no differences in the types of aggression used between females and males, the hypothesis for this study will be that males will not be significantly more physically aggressive than females.

METHOD

Pilot Study

Participants
The age of participant’s ranged from 20 years old to 55 years old (N=10). Five were male and the other five were female. Three of the five males (mean age = 20.75 years) and three of the five females (mean age = 20.6 years) were students at the University of Lincoln. The two remaining males (mean age = 39.4 years) and the two remaining females (mean age = 43.3 years) were neighbours or friends of the researcher.

Materials
A standard tape recorder recorded the discussions between the participants and the researcher. The researcher also used a photocopy of the original items from Stephenson’s (1997) questionnaire.
There were twenty-seven items derived from all the transcribed discussion with the ten participants. Four dimensions were derived the items, each of which satisfied reliability tests – eight items comprised a “Situation’s Beyond One’s Control” dimension (Cronbach’s ? = .857), nine comprised an “Interpersonal Discrepancies” (Cronbach’s ? = .885) dimension, five formed a “Personal Issues” dimension (Cronbach’s ? = .819), and the final five formed the “Physical Uncomfortability” dimension (Cronbach’s ? = .858). All dimensions collectively ‘hung’ together reliably (Cronbach’s ? = .903). Below every item in the questionnaire, there were three separate scales that the participant’s in the main study were required to rate their opinions on. These were ‘Anger’, ‘Verbal Aggression’, and ‘Physical Aggression’.
To improve upon the range of the original questionnaire, the current study has designed an 8-point scale to apply to all three dimensions for every item. Not only will this solve the middle value problem on Stephenson’s (1997) original questionnaire but also it’s extended range will more accurately complement the slight differences in feelings or opinions towards aggression and anger.

Design
Participants were chosen using an opportunistic procedure. The only measure that applied in terms of selection was that of the genders of the participant’s in accordance with the current study’s focus on gender differences in the expression of aggression.

Procedure
Participants were taken into an enclosed room. The participant’s and the researcher were sat around a table. On the table was the tape recorder. The participant’s were briefed as to the purpose of the imminent discussion. They were reassured that they were free to leave the conversation at any point, that they should not feel pressured to partake in the discussion, that anything that they say or do does not implicate them personally, and that all details disclosed to the researcher throughout the conversation would remain strictly private and confidential.
The researcher then began recording on the recorder and read an item from the original study’s questionnaire to the participant’s. They were asked what they thought of that item in terms of it’s relevance to their own lives and to also describe any situations that they have experienced which resemble the described item in any way. This typically created a conversation with at least one other member of the group, whereby that participant would also disclose an experience that he or she in some way related to the item that had been read aloud. The researcher would allow the conversation to continue until it was deemed necessary to move onto the next item, either because enough material was judged to have been collected from the participant’s or because the conversation was judged to be merging into a separate topic of discussion. At this point, the researcher would kindly end the discussion of that item and then read aloud the next item on the list to instigate a further discussion. This procedure was repeated for every item from Stephenson’s (1997) original item list. Once all the items had been read through, the tape recorder was stopped, the participant’s were debriefed, and finally thanked for their time.

Results
The tape recordings of every group discussion were transcribed and analysed for frequent situations that were described. From an intense analysis of all the transcribed discussions, there were four dimensions that the participant’s descriptions fell into, which represent categories of the participant’s descriptions that are unique and specific in their material content when compared to other given items.
The dimension of “Physical Uncomfortability” was deduced because the participant’s often referred to situations where they were agitated by circumstances which were particularly physical. Though some of these were in the context of physical contact with other members of society and others were of personal physical irritation, they were all judged to share the common underlying theme of potential aggression and anger as being induced by some kind of personal physical contact with another physical entity.
The “Interpersonal Discrepancies” dimension specifically differed from the items that appeared in the “Physical Uncomfortability” dimension because the participant’s frequently described particular situations that irritated them on a verbal interaction level and they did not refer to any physical aspect that irritated them. The title for the dimension was deduced on the grounds that the participant’s frequently referred to situations involving friends and people that they knew who irritated them. As such, these situations were particularly prevalent and therefore sufficiently distinguishable as a category, from “Physical Uncomfortability” because this dimension was derived from situations that involved people which were strangers rather than people which were known (as were so among the “Interpersonal Discrepancies” items).
The third “Situations Beyond One’s Control” dimension was deduced because there would be frequent situations that people would describe where they emphasised a feeling of powerlessness in a given situation. They would frequently elaborate on the situation by describing how they wish they could instantly do something about their situation but because of physical inability’s or the moral implications of the actions they would take, they felt helplessly confined to their irritating situation. These situations would be both personal and impersonal in nature but these were judged as distinguishable from “Interpersonal Discrepancies” items because the deduced items in this dimension did not hint at any feelings of powerlessness. In the “Interpersonal Discrepancies”, the participant’s often described how they would deal with the situation if it were to occur again and how they would cope with the consequences of their actions. The situations which produced the “Interpersonal Discrepancies” dimension consistently contained elements of situational control, whereas those in the “Situations Beyond One’s Control” dimension collectively demonstrated a strong underlying element of hopelessness.
The final “Personal Issues” dimension was deduced because the participant’s regularly described situations that irritated them which referred to their own abilities, situations in which only themselves were present and could only hold themselves responsible, or situations which involved distant family or close friends. In terms of their own abilities, participant’s frequently referred to psychological capacities which irritated them, the most frequent of which referred to the difficulty in understanding a particular document or article. A particular theme was recognised in a number of the situations that people described, whereby they did not refer to, or specifically ruled out, outside influences of other people or uncontrollable situations which lead to them to experience the irritations in their situations and that such irritations were the result of their own personal actions or abilities. It became clear that there were situations where people explicitly stated that they felt that they were in some way wholly responsible for the irritation or anger that they experienced in the situation.
Not all of the items which were used from the original questionnaire sample elicited descriptions from participant’s which were frequent enough to create another dimension. There were about five or six situations that were read to people and the responses they produced were either not repeated by other people frequently enough or were not the subject of a discussion amongst the group of people to suggest that it was a situation that elicited anger, aggression, or irritation on a wholly personal level rather than one which people were familiar with across the whole group. In other words, there were situations that were too personally specific and therefore especially different in content in relation to those that appeared in those collectively described by other people.

Main Study

Sample & Design
A total of 54 participant’s were used in the study. Questionnaires were given to 27 females and 27 males. An opportunistic design was employed just as in the pilot study. Friends and neighbours over 20 years of age were asked to complete a questionnaire. 13 of the males were students at Lincoln University, as were 14 of the female students. The remaining 14 males and 13 females were neighbours and friends outside of Lincoln University, who were typically older than the male and female students.

Materials
Because the questionnaires were completed in the participant’s own time, the only necessary materials provided was the questionnaire itself

Procedure
Participants were approached and asked if they would give their time to complete the questionnaire. All participants were told that it could take between 15 to 45 minutes to complete and were then asked if they felt comfortable with this amount of their time being spent. If participant’s agreed to proceed, they were given a copy of the questionnaire. Participants were discreetly monitored every five minutes to check if the participant had completed his or her questionnaire, but without interrupting his or her concentration. When the participant had completed the questionnaire, he or she were debriefed on the aims and expectations of the study, reassured that their results were confidential and in no way implicated them personally or psychologically, and finally thanked for their participation in the study.

Results

Being as all of the scales of this questionnaire satisfactorily met the reliability demands of Cronbach’s Alpha analysis, the results of the collective analysis of all four dimensions will first be described, and then the results pertaining to each comprising dimension will be successively described.

All Dimensions
Table 1 shows that across all four of the questionnaire’s dimensions, males (M = 48.74) were more angry than females (F = 42.48) on the Anger scale ratings but non-significantly (t² (52) = 1.066, p >.291), on the Verbal Aggression scale females (F = 121.70) produced higher ratings overall than the males (M = 119.40) but non-significantly (t² (52) = .209, p > .835), and on the Physical Aggression scale males (M = 87.93) produced higher scores than females (F = 83.48), but non-significantly (t² (52) = .483, p > .631).

Across both genders and all four dimensions, there was a significant correlation between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (54) = .270; p < .05), a significant correlation between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (54) = .668; p < .01), and a significant correlation between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (54) = .470; p < .01). Among females, across all four dimensions, there was a non-significant correlation (i.e. no correlation) between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (27) = .123; p > .05), a significant correlation between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (27) = .603; p < .01), and a significant correlation between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (27) = .398; p < .05), as can be seen in Table 2 below. Among males, across all four dimensions, there was a significant correlation between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (27) = .433; p < .05), a significant correlation between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (27) = .734; p < .01), and a significant correlation between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (27) = .533; p < .01), as can be seen in Table 3 below.Dimension 1 Situations Beyond Ones Control Males (M = 16.26) scored higher than females (F = 14.44) on the Anger scale but non-significantly (t² (52) = 1.004, p > .320), on the Verbal Aggression scale males (M = 35.93) scored higher than females (F = 34.89) but non-significantly (t² (52) = .310, p > .758), and on the Physical Aggression scale males (M = 27.15) again scored higher than females (F = 25.19), but again non-significantly (t² (52) = .670, p > .506).
Across both males and females, there were positive correlations between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (54) = .450; p < .01), between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (54) = .586; p < .01), and between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (54) = .560; p < .01). Among females, there were positive correlations between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (27) = .407; p < .05), between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (27) = .565; p < .01), and between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (27) = .578; p < .01). Among males, there was a positive correlation between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (27) = .495; p < .01), between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (27) = .605; p < .01), and between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (27) = .552; p < .01).Dimension 2 – Interpersonal Discrepancies In this dimension, males (M = 13.74) were found to be more angry on the Anger scale than females (F = 11.96) but non-significantly so (t² (52) = .889, p > .373), on the Verbal Aggression scale females (F = 39.63) were found to be more verbally aggressive than males (M = 38.70) but non-significantly (t² (52) = .230, p > .819), and on the Physical Aggression scale males (M = 27.11) were found to be more physically aggressive than females (F = 26.89), but again non-significantly (t² (52) = .069, p > .946).
Across both males and females, there was a non-significant correlation (i.e. no correlation) between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (54) = .178; p > .05), a significant correlation between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (54) = .574; p < .01), and a significant correlation between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (54) = .507; p < .01). Among females, there was a non-significant correlation (i.e. no correlation) between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (27) = .050; p > .05), a significant correlation between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (27) = .447; p < .01), and a significant correlation between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (27) = .528; p < .01). Among males, there was a non-significant correlation (i.e. no correlation) between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (27) = .306; p > .05), a significant correlation between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (27) = .675; p < .01), and a significant correlation between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (27) = .495; p < .01). Dimension 3 – Personal Issues In this dimension, males (M = 6.96) were found to be more angry than females (F = 6.67) but non-significantly, (t² (52) = .297, p > .768), on the Verbal Aggression scale females (F = 21.74) were found to be more verbally aggressive than males (M = 20.41) but non-significantly (t² (52) = .614, p > .542), and on the Physical Aggression scale, males (M = 13.81) were again found to be more physically aggressive than females (F = 13.70), but again non-significantly (t² (52) = .065, p > .948).
Across both males and females, there was a non-significant correlation (i.e. no correlation) between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (54) = .201; p > .05), a significant correlation between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (54) = .611; p < .01), and a significant correlation between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (54) = .383; p < .01). Among females, there was a non-significant correlation (i.e. no correlation) between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (27) = .106; p ? .05), a significant correlation between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (27) = .598; p < .01), and a non-significant correlation (i.e. no correlation) between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (27) = .283; p > .05).
Among males, there was a non-significant correlation (i.e. no correlation) between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (27) = .316; p ? .05), a significant correlation between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (27) = .640; p < .01), and a significant correlation between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (27) = .463; p < .01).Dimension 4 – Physical Uncomfortability Finally, in this dimension, males (M = 11.78) were found to be more angry than females (F = 9.41) on the Anger scale but non-significantly so (t² (52) = 1.368, p > .177), on the Verbal Aggression scale females (F = 25.44) were found to be more verbally aggressive than males (M = 24.37) but non-significantly (t² (52) = .476, p > .636), and on the Physical Aggression scale males (M = 19.85) were found to be more physically aggressive than females (F = 17.70) but again, non-significantly so (t² (52) = .928, p > .358).
Across both males and females, there was a significant correlation between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (54) = .299; p < .05), a significant correlation between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (54) = .767; p < .01), and a significant correlation between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (54) = .507; p < .01). Among females, there was a non-significant correlation (i.e. no correlation) between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (27) = .163; p > .05), a significant correlation between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (27) = .753; p < .01), and a significant correlation between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (27) = .411; p < .05). Among males, there was a significant correlation between ratings on the Anger scale and Verbal Aggression scale (r (27) = .468; p < .01), a significant correlation between the ratings on the Anger scale and Physical Aggression scale (r (27) = .785; p < .01), and a significant correlation between the ratings on the Physical Aggression scale and the ratings on the Verbal Aggression (r (27) = .601; p < .01).