The form and function of females' aggression

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stacy M. Sechrist (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Jacquelyn W. White

Abstract: "Many researchers approach the study of aggression by searching for gender differences. The end result has depicted females as emotionally uncontrolled and irrational in their use of aggression. The present studies seek to disrupt this view by examining simultaneously the function and form of females' aggression. Study 1 asked women to describe an experience where they had been either relationally or directly aggressive and to report on the instrumentality and affect associated with the experience. Support was found for the hypothesis that relational aggression was more instrumental in function for female aggressors, particularly when the target was also female. Study 2 asked women to describe either two relationally or two directly aggressive experiences. In one description, a same sex friend was the target. In the other description, a dating partner was the target. Participants then responded to a questionnaire that related to aggression. Nine factors were extracted from the questionnaire items. The factors represented affective responses to aggression, and motives and outcomes of aggression--suggesting that aggression is a multi-faceted phenomenon that should be measured as such. While no interactions were found between form and the nature of the relationship between the participant and target, results suggest that females are more likely to describe their aggression in instrumental terms when it is used against same sex friends than when it is used against male dating partners, and when aggression is relational in form rather than direct."--Abstract from author supplied metadata.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2006
gender, females, uncontrolled emotions, irrational, aggression
Sex differences (Psychology)
Interpersonal conflict

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