Essay on The Measure of Aggression

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The construct that is in question is the measure of aggression. Aggressiveness has been a popular disposition for study because it can be closely linked to observed behavior. An aggressive behavior has generally been defined as a behavior that is intended to injure or irritate another person (Eron, Walder,& Lefkowitz, 1971). Aggressiveness, then, is the disposition to engage frequently in behaviors that are intended to injure or irritate another person. The one difficulty this definition presents for measurement is the intentionality component. Whether or not an observed behavior injures or irritates another person can usually be determined without much difficulty, but the intention behind the behavior may be more difficult to divine, particularly when one is dealing with children. Self-reports do not solve the problem, either, as even the individual behaviour may not be aware of the intentions behind the behavior (Nisbett & Wilson, 1977).
Throughout the past 50+ years there have been several ways to measure aggression in different settings such as self report questionnaires, peer report questionnaires or peer nominations - Where people who know the subject(s) in question rated them on observed aggressive acts since they have known them.
Some clinical scales were used such as Modified Overt Aggression Scale (MOAS). This scale was an objective rating scale from staff of inpatients that exhibited various kinds of aggression and encompassed both frequency and severity of aggressive episodes. However, the disadvantage of MOAS was that it did not provide a full picture of the cause of aggression as it did not address the events preceding or following the aggressive act.
A frequently used questionnaire that was previously used...

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...cific factor (the criterion being measured), on a widely accepted construct would have to show that they are scoring high on the same factor of the aggression questionnaire. This would show that the questionnaire has criterion-related validity. This study did not explicitly use the methods of criterion-related validity. To have shown concurrent validity they could have used the MMPI measure of aggression (which is a widely accepted inventory) against the factors of aggression directly from the questionnaire. It would be slightly harder to have evidence of predictive validity due to the fact that time is always an issue. For instance to have a 10 year old take the aggression questionnaire and then try to track him down 10 years later to gain insight on the aggressiveness they show in their behaviour would not be practical for determining criterion-related validity.

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