Men tend to view their own aggression as an instrumental act aimed at imposing control, whereas women tend to view theirs as an expressive act resulting from a loss of self-control. These interpretations have been called social representations based on their presumed social origins and mode of transmission. However, if women’s self-control is generally higher than men’s, they would be expected to behave aggressively only infrequently and at higher levels of provocation. Aggression would be experienced phenomenologically as a loss of self-control. In Study 1, a student sample, men scored higher than women on instrumental beliefs, impulsivity, and risk seeking. As predicted, instrumental beliefs were associated with higher impulsive risk seeking and an expressive representation was positively associated with temper. In Study 2, an offender sample, there were no gender differences in instrumental beliefs, physical aggression, temper, carelessness, and present orientation. Instrumental beliefs were again associated with impulsive risk seeking and, to a lesser extent, temper. Expressive beliefs were again associated with temper and, to a lesser extent, present orientation. Physical aggression was associated with holding instrumental beliefs, impulsive risk seeking, and temper. The model is broadly supported and directions for future work are suggested.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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