Moderate and severe aggression justification in instrumental and reactive contexts

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Maria Elena Pena
Jose Manuel Andreu
Jose Luis Grana
Farzaneh Pahlavan
Jesus Martin Ramirez
Cite this article:  Pena, M., Andreu, J., Grana, J., Pahlavan, F., & Ramirez, J. (2008). Moderate and severe aggression justification in instrumental and reactive contexts. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 36(2), 229-238.


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The main goal of this study was to analyze the justification of interpersonal aggression in various situations or contexts. For this purpose, a self-report instrument was employed that measures different kinds of aggressive behaviors in situations in which it may be considered justified: the Cuestionario de Actitudes Morales sobre Agresión (CAMA; Ramirez, 1991), a reliable and valid test to measure the different degrees to which youth and adolescents may justify interpersonal aggression (Ramirez & Andreu, 2006). A large sample (N = 735) of participants from various educational centers of Madrid was utilized. Results revealed that normative beliefs vary as a function of age, sex, and the instrumental-reactive context. Reactive situations elicited higher levels of justification than instrumental situations and higher levels in the justifying beliefs about severe aggression were found among men than among women and in adolescents than in young adults. There were no significant differences in the justifying beliefs about moderate aggression.

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