Publication details for Professor Anne CampbellCampbell, A. (2006). Sex differences in direct aggression: What are the psychological mediators? Aggression and Violent Behavior 11(3): 237-264.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: 1359-1789
- DOI: 10.1016/j.avb.2005.09.002
- Keywords: Aggression; Sex; Gender; Mediation; Fear; Inhibition
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
Provocation enhances aggression but diminishes the magnitude of the sex difference. This suggests that the greater involvement of men in aggression might derive from their higher levels of anger or from their lower levels of fear and fear-related inhibition. A review of the relevant literature strongly suggests that there are no sex differences in anger but pronounced differences in fear, especially of physical danger. Three forms of behavioral inhibition (reactive, effortful and self control), which build developmentally on an infrastructure of fear, show negative associations with aggression and sex differences generally favouring females. Cognitive inhibition shows weaker associations with aggression (when IQ is controlled) and inconsistent sex differences. Empathy and guilt, both of which are correlated with inhibition, aggression, and sex are also considered as possible mediators. The relative utility of evolutionary and social role theories in accounting for this pattern of findings is considered.