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Relationship between boys' normative beliefs about aggression and their physical, verbal, and indirect aggressive behaviors.

Over the years, a consensus has been established among researchers studying aggression: males tend to be more aggressive than females (Archer, 2004a; Archer, 2004b; Archer & Haigh, 1997; Bettencourt & Miller, 1996; Crane-Ross, Tisak & Tisak, 1998; Eagiy & Steffen, 1986; Tappere & Boulton, 2004). In a meta-analytic review of the social-psychological literature, Eagly and Steffen (1986) found that 89% of social-psychological reports indicated that males were more aggressive than females. Moreover, Bettencourt and Miller (1996) and Archer (2004a) obtained a close to moderate effect size of 0.33 and 0.42, respectively for the finding that males scored higher than females for general aggression.

Other studies examined different aspects of aggression such as indirect, verbal, and physical aggression and the findings suggest that sex differences may differ for each type of aggression. In one study, Crick Crick , Francis Henry Compton 1916-2004.

British biologist who with James D. Watson proposed a spiral model, the double helix, for the molecular structure of DNA. He shared a 1962 Nobel Prize for advances in the study of genetics.
, Bigbee, and Howes (1996) found that girls cited more indirect aggressive acts to express anger, as compared to boys. However, in a meta-analytic review of sex differences in aggression in real-world settings, measured using self reports, Archer (2004a) reported a negligible This article or section is written like a personal reflection or and may require .
Please [ improve this article] by rewriting this article or section in an .
 effect size of 0.02, illustrating that girls were not higher on indirect aggression compared to boys.

Past research on verbal aggression supported the consensus that males tend to be verbally more aggressive than females (Archer, 2004a; Archer 2004b; Tapper & Boulton, 2004). However, the magnitude of the effect sizes for the differences found in verbal aggression varied from study to study, even when similar methods were used. For example, Archer (2004a) summarized the findings of 40 studies using self-reports in a meta-analysis and reported an effect size of 0.30. In a different study, also using self-reports, Archer and Haigh (1997) reported a much smaller effect size of 0.11. In contrast, the studies on physical aggression yielded relatively conclusive Determinative; beyond dispute or question. That which is conclusive is manifest, clear, or obvious. It is a legal inference made so peremptorily that it cannot be overthrown or contradicted.  findings, compared to those on indirect and verbal aggression. In these studies, which involved children (Tapper & Boulton, 2004), adolescents (Crane-Ross et al., 1998), and adults (Archer, 2004a; Archer, 2004b; Archer & Haigh, 1997; Bettencourt & Miller, 1996; Eagly & Steffen, 1986), males were shown to have higher scores for physical aggression as compared to females. For most of these studies, moderate effect sizes were found for sex differences in physical aggression. For instance, Tapper and Boulton (2004) calculated the number of aggressive acts per hour for children aged three to six and found that boys engaged in a greater number of physically aggressive acts per hour as compared to girls. This finding had a moderate effect size of 0.63. Using self-reports, Archer (2004b) found similar sex differences among undergraduates. Male undergraduates reported more physical aggression than did female undergraduates, with a moderate effect size of 0.62.

Aggressiveness among males was particularly pronounced when their opponents were males (Hoppe, 1979), probably because males usually have more approving beliefs and intentions about aggression toward other males (Harris, 1994). In one study, using hypothetical Hypothetical is an adjective, meaning of or pertaining to a hypothesis. See:
  • Hypothesis
  • Hypothetical
  • Hypothetical (album)
 events, Archer and Haigh (1997) showed that among students, males scored higher on instrumental beliefs supporting same-sex physical aggression. There was a similar finding by Winstok and Enosh (2007). In their study, they found that among Israeli adolescents, males were most concerned with the gender of the provocateur pro·vo·ca·teur  
n.
An agent provocateur.

Noun 1. provocateur - a secret agent who incites suspected persons to commit illegal acts
agent provocateur
 and had intentions to react more aggressively in terms of physical aggression toward male provocateurs. To explain this phenomenon, past research has provided plausible reasons from evolutionary and social perspectives.

Evolutionary Perspective

According to according to
prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

3.
 the evolutionary perspective, males and females had different selection pressures as a result of their different amount of parental investment. For females, parental investment in their offspring off·spring
n.
1. The progeny or descendants of a person, animal, or plant considered as a group.

2. A child of particular parentage.
 is usually great; in order to maximize survival, they had to be very selective, obtaining males with good genes and resources. On the other hand, for males, parental investment in their offspring is usually minimal; in order to maximize survival, they tend to seek to mate with numerous females. To attract numerous females, they had to show that they have good genes and resources, and this is often displayed through being dominant over other males. As a result, inter-male competition was frequent and there were greater risks involved when males engaged in conflicts with other males (Archer, 1996), which might explain why males were often more aggressive, especially toward other male provocateurs.

In addition, since most of the females' responsibilities were about nurturing their offspring, males had to take up the remaining responsibilities such as co-opting resources of others for one's offspring, defending against attacks from rivals, and negotiating status and power hierarchies (Buss, 1997). These responsibilities usually involved physical aggression against other male rivals in order to deter future aggression from these rivals. Therefore, from the evolutionary perspective, the aggressive patterns displayed by males today, could be partly due to differential selection pressures on males and females that resulted from the differing amounts of parental investment required by them.

Social Perspective

According to social perspective, greater aggression among males was argued to be due to the traditional masculine MASCULINE. That which belongs to the male sex.
     2. The masculine sometimes includes the feminine, vide an example under the article Man, and see also the articles Gender, Worthiest of blood; Poth. Intr. au titre 16, des Testamens et Donations Testamentaires, n.
 socialization socialization /so·cial·iza·tion/ (so?shal-i-za´shun) the process by which society integrates the individual and the individual learns to behave in socially acceptable ways.

so·cial·i·za·tion
n.
 of the male gender role. This could have led to the restriction of emotional expression and greater display of toughness, dominance, and aggression (Feder, Levant Levant (ləvănt`) [Ital.,=east], collective name for the countries of the eastern shore of the Mediterranean from Egypt to, and including, Turkey. , & Dean, 2007). This might explain Eagly and Steffen's (1986) finding that men tend to be more aggressive than women when the situation provided an opportunity for physical aggression, as compared to psychological aggression. Probably, overt Public; open; manifest.

The term overt is used in Criminal Law in reference to conduct that moves more directly toward the commission of an offense than do acts of planning and preparation that may ultimately lead to such conduct.


OVERT. Open.
 physical aggression was more obvious than psychological aggression and thus was easily reinforced by socialization.

With this masculine socialization, a social norm was created in which it was more acceptable for males to engage in aggressive behaviors, especially when they were directed toward other males. For example, using hypothetical scenarios, Harris (1994) found that male undergraduates expected more approval of aggression from their friends in scenarios not involving male-female dating; specifically, male undergraduates expected more approval of aggression from their friends when aggression was not directed toward females. More importantly, this social norm would shape individuals' own normative nor·ma·tive  
adj.
Of, relating to, or prescribing a norm or standard: normative grammar.



nor
 beliefs about aggression which would, in turn, affect their display of aggressive behaviors. This was shown in a study conducted by Henry et al. (2000). Guerra et al.'s (2007) study, showed that injunctive norms, which were classmates' beliefs about the acceptability of aggression, affected individuals' normative beliefs about aggression; in classrooms where teachers and students had salient norms against aggression, aggressive beliefs and behaviors diminished di·min·ish  
v. di·min·ished, di·min·ish·ing, di·min·ish·es

v.tr.
1.
a. To make smaller or less or to cause to appear so.

b.
 over time. Salmivalli and Voeten (2004) provided similar evidence by showing that in the classroom, a low degree of anti-bullying norms predicted bullying Bullying
Chowne, Parson Stoyle

terrorizes parish; kidnaps children. [Br. Lit.: The Maid of Sker, Walsh Modern, 94–95]

Claypole, Noah

bully; becomes thief in Fagin’s gang. [Br. Lit.
 of others, as well as reinforcement reinforcement /re·in·force·ment/ (-in-fors´ment) in behavioral science, the presentation of a stimulus following a response that increases the frequency of subsequent responses, whether positive to desirable events, or  of bullies.

Following this line of research, it seemed that one's attitudes and beliefs about the acceptability and legitimacy LEGITIMACY. The state of being born in wedlock; that is, in a lawful manner.
     2. Marriage is considered by all civilized nations as the only source of legitimacy; the qualities of husband and wife must be possessed by the parents in order to make the offspring
 of aggression would have a direct effect on aggressive behaviors. In fact, this was true across a wide range of individuals, including children, adolescents, and adults. In one study, it was shown that in children, individual differences in aggressive behavior were predicted by preceding differences in normative beliefs about aggression (Huesmann & Guerra, 1997). Also, children who believed strongly in the legitimacy of aggression were less withdrawn, less prosocial, and more aggressive than those who did not hold such beliefs (Erdley & Asher, 1998). For adolescents, convention-violating and aggressive behaviors could also be predicted by normative beliefs about legitimacy of aggression (Bellmore, Witkow, Graham, & Juvonen, 2005; Crane-Ross et al., 1998). For young adults, it has been shown that more approving beliefs about aggression led to higher levels of self-reports regarding one's own aggressive behaviors (Harris, 1994).

Thus, it is not difficult to see that past evolutionary pressures could have yielded a specific pattern of male aggressive behaviors, which were reinforced by present-day social norms. This sustained pattern of male aggression is problematic because what appeared adaptive in our evolutionary past might be maladaptive Maladaptive
Unsuitable or counterproductive; for example, maladaptive behavior is behavior that is inappropriate to a given situation.

Mentioned in: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
 in today's civilized civ·i·lized  
adj.
1. Having a highly developed society and culture.

2. Showing evidence of moral and intellectual advancement; humane, ethical, and reasonable:
 society, when aggression becomes an externalized behavioral behavioral

pertaining to behavior.


behavioral disorders
see vice.

behavioral seizure
see psychomotor seizure.
 problem. It could be argued that since our evolutionary past is fixed, studies investigating the link between normative beliefs about aggressive behaviors brought some hope to intervention A procedure used in a lawsuit by which the court allows a third person who was not originally a party to the suit to become a party, by joining with either the plaintiff or the defendant.  programs aimed at reducing aggression. In particular, intervention should attempt to modify individuals' social-cognitive beliefs (Guerra et al., 2007). Yet, individuals' normative beliefs about aggression are usually complex, often involving the consideration of aggression under provocation Conduct by which one induces another to do a particular deed; the act of inducing rage, anger, or resentment in another person that may cause that person to engage in an illegal act.  (Huesmann & Guerra, 1997), which might result in different patterns of aggressive behaviors in the face of provocation.

Aggression under Provocation

Past research suggests that under provocation, even a weak one, retaliatory re·tal·i·ate  
v. re·tal·i·at·ed, re·tal·i·at·ing, re·tal·i·ates

v.intr.
To return like for like, especially evil for evil.

v.tr.
To pay back (an injury) in kind.
 aggression becomes more acceptable for adjudicated males (Haft, Floyd, & Shinn, 2006). Another line of research suggested that aggression heightened following increases in provocation (Hoppe, 1979; Stadler, Rohrmann, Steuber, & Poustka, 2006). In an interesting experiment with manipulated provocation, Chermack, Berman, and Taylor (1997) showed that the shock levels set by male participants to a provocative opponent increased significantly as provocation increased. On the other hand, male participants assigned to a low constant provocation group showed highly stable aggressive responding. These studies suggested that individuals tended to be aggressive under provocation. However, only limited research has demonstrated a relation between beliefs about retaliatory aggression and retaliatory aggression under provocation (Zelli, Dodge, Lochman, & Laird laird  
n. Scots
The owner of a landed estate.



[Scots, from Middle English lard, variant of lord, owner, master; see lord.
, 1999).

Specificity of Normative Beliefs in Predicting Aggression

It is important to establish the link between beliefs about retaliatory aggression and retaliatory aggression under provocation in order to refine intervention programs, as there is evidence suggesting that beliefs are specific in terms of predicting behaviors. Werner and Nixon's (2005) study revealed that normative beliefs about relational aggression Relational aggression is psychological (social/emotional) aggression between people in relationships. Relational aggression is a form of aggression where the group is used as a weapon to assault others and others' relationships.  were uniquely associated with engagement in relationally aggressive behaviors but not physically aggressive behaviors, while normative beliefs about physical aggression were uniquely associated with engagement in physically aggressive behaviors but not relationally aggressive behaviors. This implied that the prediction of aggressive behaviors based on normative beliefs about aggression was highly specific. Thus, past research was inadequate in showing whether specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression could predict retaliatory aggressive behaviors.

PRESENT STUDY

This study aimed to examine the separate contribution of general normative beliefs about aggression and specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression in predicting aggressive behaviors, using a sample of elementary school elementary school: see school.  boys. We sought to identify the contribution of specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression in predicting aggressive behaviors, controlling for the contribution of general normative beliefs about aggression. Based on past studies, it was believed that general normative beliefs about aggression would contribute significantly in predicting aggressive behaviors (Crane-Ross et al., 1998; Erdley & Asher, 1998; Huesmann & Guerra, 1997). Recent but limited evidence suggests that specific beliefs about retaliatory aggression could contribute significantly in predicting aggressive behaviors; it is plausible that as individuals become more approving of aggressive behaviors under provocation (Felix & McMahon, 2007; Haft et al., 2006), this could contribute to use of aggressive behaviors (Crane-Ross et al., 1998; Erdley & Asher, 1998). Therefore, we hypothesized that specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression would also contribute significantly in predicting aggressive behaviors.

We were also interested in how specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against males and against females differ in predicting aggressive behaviors. We expected that specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against males, being part of specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression, would contribute significantly in predicting aggressive behaviors. On the other hand, although also part of specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression, we expected that specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against females would not contribute significantly in predicting aggressive behaviors. This is because males' evolutionary past supported inter-male aggression (Archer, 1996) and social conventions were strongly against males' aggression toward females (Feder et al., 2007; Harris, 1994; Hilton, Harris, & Rice, 2000). Therefore, even though males might have specific beliefs about retaliatory aggression against females, they might not externalize externalize

see exteriorize.
 these beliefs.

Instead of simply assessing general aggressive behaviors, we chose to use three distinct types: verbal, physical, and indirect. While much has been written about males' physical aggression, males' engagement in verbal and indirect aggression has not been as frequently researched. Physical aggression alone is probably not an accurate reflection of males' aggressive behavior as it is not uncommon for individuals usually to engage in more than one type of aggressive behavior (Salmi valli, Kaukiainen, & Lagerspetz, 2000). Moreover, male Spanish adolescents were shown to be more aggressive than female Spanish adolescents: physical, verbal, and indirect aggressive behaviors (Toldos, 2005). Additionally, it has been shown that there were moderate correlations between physical, verbal, and indirect aggression (Hayward & Fletcher Fletcher may refer to one of the following: Ideas and companies
  • A fletcher makes arrows, see fletching.
  • Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the graduate school of international relations of Tufts University, located in Medford, Massachusetts.
, 2003; Salmivalli et al., 2000). This finding suggested that although the different types of aggression were related, they were nonetheless distinct. Furthermore, children as young as those in Grade 3 developed different coping responses for the different types of aggression (Phelps, 2001), which further supported the view that the various types of aggression were qualitatively different. Hence, it is essential that each type of aggressive behavior be studied independently so that the contribution of normative beliefs about aggression in predicting aggressive behaviors would not be obscured by the interacting effects of the different types of behaviors.

Since males usually engage in multiple aggressive behaviors (Salmivalli et al., 2000) and were more aggressive in all three types of behaviors (Toldos, 2005), we would expect similar patterns to emerge for these behaviors when applying general and specific normative beliefs about aggression to predict physical, verbal, and indirect aggressive behaviors.

Hence, the present study had two hypotheses. First, that general normative beliefs about aggression would contribute significantly in predicting self-reported physical, verbal, and indirect aggressive behaviors. Second, that specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression would contribute significantly in predicting self-reported physical, verbal, and indirect aggressive behaviors even after controlling for general normative beliefs about aggression. In particular, specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against males but not specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against females would contribute significantly in predicting self-reported physical, verbal, and indirect aggressive behaviors.

METHOD

Participants

Two hundred and forty-nine Grade 4 (N = 113) and Grade 5 (N = 136 boys), ranging in age from 9 to 14 years (M = 10.80, SD = .91) were sampled from two elementary schools (N = 85; N = 164). Self-reported ethnic identification of these 249 boys were as follows: 142 Chinese, 26 Indian, 67 Malay, 1 Eurasian, and 13 Other.

Measures

Normative Beliefs about Aggression Scale (NOBAGS). This is a 20item scale (Huesmann & Guerra, 1997) consisting of three subscales measuring children's beliefs about the acceptability of aggressive behaviors. For each of the items, participants were required to respond on a 4-point scale, indicating if the particular aggressive behavior was very wrong (0), a bit wrong (1), a bit OK(3). The first subscale contained 8 items measuring children's general beliefs about the acceptability of aggressive behaviors; half of these items were negatively worded (e.g., "It is wrong to take it out on others by saying bad things when you are angry") while the other half of these items were positively worded (e.g., "It is OK to push other people around if you are angry"). A total score was obtained by totaling up the scores on these 8 items, with a higher score indicating greater acceptability of general aggression. In the current study Cronbach's alpha Cronbach's (alpha) has an important use as a measure of the reliability of a psychometric instrument. It was first named as alpha by Cronbach (1951), as he had intended to continue with further instruments.  for this subscale was 0.78.

The second subscale contained 6 items measuring children's specified beliefs about the acceptability of retaliatory aggressive behaviors toward males, and the third subscale contained 6 items measuring children's specified beliefs about the acceptability of retaliatory aggressive behaviors toward females. Of the 6 items that measured children's beliefs about the acceptability of retaliatory aggressive behaviors toward males, 3 items were negatively worded (e.g., "If a boy says something bad to a girl, do you think it's wrong for the girl to shout at to utter shouts at; to deride or revile with shouts.

See also: Shout
 him?") and 3 items were positively worded (e.g., "If a boy hits a girl, do you think it's OK for the girl to hit him back?"). A total score was obtained by adding up these scores, with a higher score indicating greater acceptability of retaliatory aggression toward males. In the current study, Cronbach's alpha for this subscale was 0.76.

Of the 6 items that measured children's specified beliefs about the acceptability of retaliatory aggressive behaviors toward females, 4 items were negatively worded (e.g., "If a girl says something bad to a boy, do you think it's wrong for the boy to shout at her?") and 2 items were positively worded (e.g., "If a girl says something bad to another girl, Mary, do you think it's OK for Mary to shout at her?"). A total score was obtained by adding up these responses, with higher scores indicating acceptability of retaliatory aggression toward females. In the current study, Cronbach's alpha for this subscale was 0.83.

Assessment of aggressive behaviors. Three single items were used to assess how often children engage in different types of aggressive behaviors. To assess the frequency of physical aggression, the item "I physically hurt someone (e.g., hit, kick)" was used. To assess the frequency of verbal aggression, the item "I called someone a bad name because of how he or she looks like" was used. To assess the frequency of indirect aggression, the item "I spread rumors For other uses, see Rumor (disambiguation).

Rumors is a farcical play by Neil Simon.

At its start, several affluent couples gather in the posh suburban residence of a couple for a dinner party celebrating their tenth anniversary.
 about someone" was used. For these three items, participants were required to respond on a 5-point scale, 1 being never, 2 being one time or two times this year, 3 being a few times this year, 4 being about one time every week, and 5 being about a few times every week.

Procedure

Following the procedure for ethical clearance and data collection from schools in Singapore There are various different types of schools in Singapore. In addition to the usual primary and secondary schools there are also junior colleges and centralized institutes. Singapore also has a number of polytechnics and universities. , permission was sought and approval obtained from the Ministry of Education in Singapore Education in Singapore is managed by Ministry of Education (MOE), which directs education policy. The ministry controls the development and administration of public schools which receive government funding but also has an advisory and supervisory role to private schools.  and both schools prior to conducting the research. A passive consent procedure was used to obtain children's participation approval from parents. All parents involved were informed about the nature of the study well in advance of questionnaire administration. Parents were requested to contact the school if they did not want their child to participate. None of the parents withheld consent. Assent An intentional approval of known facts that are offered by another for acceptance; agreement; consent.

Express assent is manifest confirmation of a position for approval.
 was also required from the children. Participation was voluntary and participants were informed that they could refuse or discontinue dis·con·tin·ue  
v. dis·con·tin·ued, dis·con·tin·u·ing, dis·con·tin·ues

v.tr.
1. To stop doing or providing (something); end or abandon:
 the study at any time without penalty. The questionnaire was administered in English, and participants completed the questionnaires in their respective classrooms. The classroom teacher and one to two research assistants were present in each classroom to answer children's questions regarding the procedure. No translation was needed since English is the main language of instruction for schools in Singapore.

RESULTS

Table 1 presents the means and standard deviations of the predictors (general normative beliefs about aggression, specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against males, and specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against females), and dependent variables (verbal, physical, and indirect aggression). A series of hierarchical A structure made up of different levels like a company organization chart. The higher levels have control or precedence over the lower levels. Hierarchical structures are a one-to-many relationship; each item having one or more items below it.  multiple regression regression, in psychology: see defense mechanism.
regression

In statistics, a process for determining a line or curve that best represents the general trend of a data set.
 analyses investigated whether specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression accounted for physical, verbal, and indirect aggressive behaviors, controlling for general normative beliefs about aggression, in a sample of elementary school boys from Singapore.

The hypotheses were tested using three separate runs of hierarchical multiple regression using physical, verbal, and indirect aggressive behaviors as dependent variables, respectively. Physical, verbal, and indirect aggressive behaviors were regressed onto specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against males and specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against females, controlling for general normative beliefs about aggression. In each analysis, general normative beliefs about aggression was entered at Step 1 of the analysis while specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against males and specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against females were entered at Step 2. These results are reported in Table 2.

General normative beliefs about aggression made a statistically significant contribution to the prediction of physical aggressive behavior [[DELTA][R.sup.2] = .06, [DELTA]F(1, 247) = 16.29, p < .01], verbal aggression behavior [[DELTA][R.sup.2] = .05, [DELTA]F(1,247) = 14.02, p < .01], and indirect aggressive behavior [[DELTA][R.sup.2] = .13, [DELTA]F(1, 247) = 35.98, p < .01]. The first hypothesis was supported. When general normative beliefs about aggression was controlled for, specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression still made a statistically significant contribution to the prediction of physical aggressive behavior [[DELTA][F.sup.2] = .02, [DELTA]F(1, 245) = 3.26, p < .05], verbal aggressive behavior [[DELTA][R.sup.2] = .04, [DELTA]F(1, 245) = 5.32, p < .01], and indirect aggressive behavior [[DELTA][R.sup.2] = .06, [DELTA]F(1, 245) = 5.734, p < .01]. Standardized beta weights indicated that specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against males was responsible for the additional variance explained for physical aggressive behavior ([beta] = .19, p < .05), verbal aggressive behavior ([beta] = .22, p < .01), and indirect aggressive behavior ([beta] = .18, p < .05). In contrast, standardized beta weights indicated that specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against females was not responsible for the additional variance explained for physical aggressive behavior ([beta] = -.02, ns), verbal aggressive behavior ([beta] = .01, ns), and indirect aggressive behavior ([beta] = .07, ns). The second hypothesis was supported.

DISCUSSION

Consistent with previous research indicating that general normative beliefs about aggression predicted greater aggressive behaviors (Bellmore et al., 2005; Crane-Ross et al., 1998; Erdley & Asher, 1998; Haroris, 1994; Huesmann & Guerra, 1997), this study found that among elementary school boys, general normative beliefs about aggression contributed significantly in predicting physical, verbal, and indirect aggressive behaviors. More importantly, this study added to past research in establishing the link between specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression and aggressive behaviors, controlling for the contribution of general normative beliefs about aggression. Specifically, the finding in that controlling for general normative beliefs about aggression, specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against males but not specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against females, was the significant predictor of physical, verbal, and indirect aggressive behaviors among elementary school boys.

Given the link between general normative beliefs about aggression and aggressive behaviors, researchers have suggested intervention programs that change social-cognitive beliefs of children (Guerra et al., 2007). Altering the social-cognitive beliefs of aggressive children to a belief system that does not support legitimacy of aggression could help reduce their aggressive behavior. The importance of the present findings lies in the implication that normative beliefs about aggression were specific in predicting aggressive behaviors. In particular, specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against males contributed uniquely and significantly over and above general normative beliefs that aggression predicts physical, verbal, and indirect aggressive behaviors. Therefore, when intervention programs are designed to change children's beliefs about aggression, specific procedures have to be implemented to change both general and specific normative beliefs in order to be effective in reducing both general aggression and retaliatory aggression.

Thus, our findings could contribute to the design and development of prevention programs. For example, such programs could target existing social norms. As previously mentioned, it was often more acceptable for males to be aggressive toward or retaliate against males (Archer & Haigh, 1997; Hope, 1979; Winstok & Enosh, 2007). Furthermore, Kerestes and Milanovic (2006) showed that direct and indirect aggression were both related to peer rejection and, in particular, aggressive boys were rejected more by their male classmates Classmates can refer to either:
  • Classmates.com, a social networking website.
  • Classmates (film), a 2006 Malayalam blockbuster directed by Lal Jose, starring Prithviraj, Jayasurya, Indragith, Sunil, Jagathy, Kavya Madhavan, Balachandra Menon, ...
 than by their female classmates. Modifying norms for male-to-male aggression may reduce the threat of peer rejection felt by boys.

Additionally, social norms that encourage prosocial behaviors of males can be established. It has been shown that men tend to help women more (Eagly & Crowley, 1986), which might explain why, in this study, specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against females did not predict aggressive behaviors since males were socialized so·cial·ize  
v. so·cial·ized, so·cial·iz·ing, so·cial·iz·es

v.tr.
1. To place under government or group ownership or control.

2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.
 to help women. In the same way that social norms that encourage males to help females could reduce aggression by males against females, social norms that encourage males to help males might also reduce this type of aggression.

One limitation of this study was that the assessment of aggressive behaviors did not specify the gender of the opponents even though it could be argued that due to greater sensitivity to the gender of the provocateur (Winstok & Enosh, 2007) and approval of aggression toward and retaliation RETALIATION. The act by which a nation or individual treats another in the same manner that the latter has treated them. For example, if a nation should lay a very heavy tariff on American goods, the United States would be justified in return in laying heavy duties on the manufactures and  against males (Archer & Haigh, 1997; Hoppe, 1979; Winstok & Enosh, 2007), it was highly likely that in the absence of a specific gender of opponent in the study, participants had a male opponent in mind. Furthermore, single items were used to measure physical, verbal, and indirect aggressive behaviors. Lastly, both normative beliefs about aggression and aggressive behavior assessments were based on self-report. Thus, common method variance may result in spuriously spu·ri·ous  
adj.
1. Lacking authenticity or validity in essence or origin; not genuine; false.

2. Of illegitimate birth.

3. Botany Similar in appearance but unlike in structure or function.
 high correlations among constructs. Additionally, the use of self-reports without behavioral assessments provided by others could be inaccurate. In addition to specifying the gender of opponents and the use of multiple items in the measurement of aggressive behavior, future research should consider a multiple informant informant Historian Medtalk A person who provides a medical history  and multiple method strategy to overcome the problem of common method variance.

CONCLUSION

Findings from this study suggest that general normative beliefs about aggression predict aggressive behaviors. When general normative beliefs were controlled for, specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against males contributed uniquely and significantly in predicting aggressive behaviors. This implies that future intervention programs should be designed to change specific normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression, as well as general normative beliefs in order to be more effective in reducing aggressive behaviors among children.

REFERENCES

Archer, J. (1996). Sex differences in social behavior In biology, psychology and sociology social behavior is behavior directed towards, or taking place between, members of the same species. Behavior such as predation which involves members of different species is not social. : Are the social role and evolutionary explanations compatible? American Psychologist psy·chol·o·gist
n.
A person trained and educated to perform psychological research, testing, and therapy.


psychologist 
, 51, 909-917.

Archer, J. (2004a). Sex differences in aggression in real-world settings: A meta-analytic review. Review of General Psychology, 8, 291-322.

Archer, J. (2004b). Which attitudinal measures predict trait trait (trat)
1. any genetically determined characteristic; also, the condition prevailing in the heterozygous state of a recessive disorder, as the sickle cell trait.

2. a distinctive behavior pattern.
 aggression? Personality and Individual Differences, 36, 47-60.

Archer, J., & Haigh, A. (1997). Sex differences in beliefs about aggression. Opponent's sex and the form of aggression. The British Journal of Social Psychology British Journal of Social Psychology is a journal published by the British Psychological Society (BPS). It publishes original papers on subjects like social cognition, attitudes, group processes, social influence, intergroup relations, self and identity, nonverbal communication, , 38, 71-84.

Bellmore, A. D., Witkow, M. R., Graham, S., & Juvonen, J. (2005). From beliefs to behavior: The mediating role of hostile response selection in predicting aggression. Aggressive Behavior, 31, 453-472.

Bettencourt, B. A., & Miller, N. (1996). Gender differences in aggression as a function of provocation: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 119, 422-447.

Buss, D. M. (1997). Human aggression in evolutionary psychological perspective. Clinical Psychology Review, 17, 605-619.

Chermack, S. T., Berman, M., & Taylor, S. P. (1997). Effects of provocation on emotions and aggression in males. Aggressive Behavior, 23, 1-10.

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This project was conducted by Si Huan Lim and supervised su·per·vise  
tr.v. su·per·vised, su·per·vis·ing, su·per·vis·es
To have the charge and direction of; superintend.



[Middle English *supervisen, from Medieval Latin
 by Rebecca P. Ang, as part of the Undergraduate Research Experience on Campus (URECA) program from Nanyang Technological University Nanyang Technological University (Abbreviation: NTU) is a major research university in Singapore. The University's garden campus, known as the Yunnan Garden campus is in the southwestern part of Singapore. , Singapore. The project was supported by the URECA program and an Academic Research Fund Tier 1 grant (RG96/07) awarded to Rebecca P. Ang.

Si Huan Lim and Rebecca P. Ang, Division of Psychology, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Rebecca P. Ang, Division of Psychology, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798. E-mail: rpang@ntu.edu.sg
Table 1
Means and Standard Deviations for Predictors and
Dependent Variables

                             Standard
     Variables        Mean   Deviation

      General         4.43     4.56
      NOBAGS

     Specific         4.80     4.05
     NOBAGS(M)

     Specific         4.81     4.42
     NOBAGS(F)

Physical Aggression   1.69     1.02

 Verbal Aggression    1.94     1.19

Indirect Aggression   1.58     0.96

Note.

N = 249. General NOBAGS = General normative beliefs about
aggression. Specific NOBAGS(M) = Specific normative beliefs
about retaliatory aggression against males. Specific
NOBAGS(F) = Specific normative beliefs about retaliatory
aggression against females.

Table 2
Hierarchical Regression Analysis for Predicting Physical, Verbal
and Indirect Aggressive Behaviors from General Normative Beliefs
about Aggression and Specific Normative Beliefs about Retaliatory
Aggression

                                           [DELTA]     [DELTA]
Predictor Measure    [beta]   [R.sup.2]   [R.sup.2]       F
and Step

Predicting PA
      Step 1
  General NOBAGS      .25 **     .06         .06      16.29 **
      Step 2
Specific NOBAGS(M)    .19 *      .09         .02       3.26 *
Specific NOBAGS(F)   -.02
Predicting VA
      Step 1
  General NOBAGS      .23 **     .05         .05      14.02 **
      Step 2
Specific NOBAGS(M)    .22 **     .09         .04       5.32 **
Specific NOBAGS(F)    .01
Predicting IA
      Step 1
  General NOBAGS      .36 **     .13         .13      35.98 **
      Step 2
Specific NOBAGS(M)    .18 *      .17         .04      5.73 **
Specific NOBAGS(F)    .07

Note.

PA = Physical aggressive behavior. VA = Verbal aggressive
behavior. IA = Indirect aggressive behavior. General NOBAGS
= General normative beliefs about aggression. Specific
NOBAGS(M) = Specific normative beliefs about retaliatory
aggression against males. Specific NOBAGS(F) = Specific
normative beliefs about retaliatory aggression against
females.

* p <.05. ** p <.01.
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Author:Lim, Si Huan; Ang, Rebecca P.
Publication:Adolescence
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Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2009
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