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Aggression: Precipitating Factors

Social and personal Determinants of workplace aggression: The role of perceived injustice and the Type A behavior pattern
R.A. Baron (Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY)
 J. H. Neuman (State University of New York at New Paltz, New Paltz, NY)
D. Geddes (Temple University, Philadelphia, PA)
Several hypotheses concerning workplace aggression were derived from basic research on human aggression and tested in a study involving 452 employed persons.  The hypotheses investigated were: (1) covert forms of aggression are more frequent than direct forms of aggression in workplaces; (2) the lower the degree to which employees report being treated fairly by supervisors, the higher the incidence of workplace aggression in their organizations; (3) the higher employees' scores on the Type A behavior pattern, the greater their reported frequency of involvement in workplace aggression. Findings offered support for all these predictions, thus underscoring the value of establishing stronger links between basic research on human aggression and current research on workplace aggression.

Threatened egotism, narcissism, self-esteem, and directed and displaced aggression: Does self-love or self-hate lead to violence?
Brad Bushman (Iowa State University, Ames, IA)
Roy F. Baumeister (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH)
It has been widely asserted that low self-esteem causes violence, but laboratory evidence is lacking, and some contrary observations have characterized aggressors as having favorable self-opinions.  In two studies, we measured both simple self-esteem and narcissism and then gave individual subjects an opportunity to aggress against someone who had insulted them or praised them, or against an innocent third person. Self-esteem proved irrelevant to aggression.  The combination of narcissism and insult led to exceptionally high levels of aggression toward the source of the insult.  Neither form of self-regard affected displaced aggression, which was low in general.  These findings contradict the popular view that low self-esteem causes aggression and point instead toward threatened egotism as an important cause.

Moderating effect of trivial triggering provocation on displaced aggression
William C. Pedersen and Norman Miller (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA)
Examined the impact of a trivial triggering provocation by the target of displaced aggression after independent prior provocation.  Manipulation checks confirmed that antecedent provocation (p<.001) and trivial triggering provocation by itself (p<.001) elicited anger.  The interaction between the two manipulations confirmed theoretical expectation (p<.005).  Without an independent antecedent provocation, the triggering action had no impact on aggression toward its source.  However, following an antecedent provocation, it dramatically increased displaced aggression beyond that elicited by provocation alone.

Displaced aggression: a meta-analytic review
Norman Miller (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA)
A. Marcus-Newhall (Scripps College, Los Angeles, CA)
William Pedersen (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA)
Content analysis shows that social psychology textbooks (N=123) view displaced aggression as conceptually unsubstantiated and obsolete.  Meta-analysis, however, reveals its robustness (Mean effect size = +.55).  Additionally, moderator analyses showed that: 1) negative interaction between the participant and target increases it; 2) greater perceived similarity between the participant and target directionally decreases it (p<.10); 3) the intensity of initial provocation is inversely related to it; and 4) greater similarity between provocateur and target has no effect. (back to top)