Gender differences in relational and physical aggression

Leslie A. Burton, Jessica H Mirman, Debra Henninger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A sample of 134 (93 female, 41 male) university students were evaluated with measures of relational and physical aggression, as well as measures of the five personality factors (NEO Five-Factor Inventory; Costa & McCrae, 1992), depression and anxiety (Beck Depression Inventory; Beck, 1987 and Anxiety Inventory; Beck, 1990), and general emotional understanding and functioning (Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory; Bar-On, 1997). Gender differences were found such that the men reported more physical aggression and less Extraversion, with trends for less Neuroticism and less Agreeableness, than the women (NEO-FFI). Additionally, the women had higher Bar-On Interpersonal overall factor scores, including higher scores for the component Empathy, Social Responsibility, and Interpersonal Relationship subscales, than the men. Relational and physical aggression showed different patterns of association with other personality and emotional measures for men and women. In men, higher physical aggression was associated with lower Agreeableness and lower Extraversion. In women, higher physical aggression was associated with higher Conscientiousness, more depression, lower Bar-On EQI Stress Management and higher adaptability. Relational aggression was associated with lower Agreeableness and a lower Bar-On EQI overall score for both men and women. In men, higher relational aggression was additionally associated with more Neuroticism. In women, higher relational aggression was also associated with lower Conscientiousness, and lower Bar-On EQI Interpersonal factor scores.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-50
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Behavior and Personality
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


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