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Alhambra, M.S., Trenado, R., and Simó S.
Aggression and Family Research Unit, Faculty of Psychology, University of Valencia, Spain. 

The “Community Program for Psychological Attention to Mothers and their Children in the First Two Years of Life” (Cerezo, 1989) has been promoted as a means of  improving maternal and child health and functioning. It acts on parental erroneous beliefs about their children, so that the risk of conflicts and abusive episodes diminishes. The present longitudinal study was designed to analyse the program´s long term effects on parental competence and beliefs about the child´s needs. The sample of the study was composed of 30 non-clinical families, which pertained to one of three groups. Group 1 (“Advised Mothers”) was formed by mothers who repeated their assistance to the program with their second child. Group 2 (“Inexperienced Mothers”) was formed by mothers which visited the program for the first time with their first child, and group 3 (“Experienced Mothers”) was formed by mothers who visited the program for the first time with their second child. The variable used for the analysis was the mother’s score in the "Child Abuse Potential Inventory" (J.S. Milner, 1980). The CAP Inventory evaluates the potential risk of parents to commit physical abuse in their children. It was administrated as a pre-test (3 months) and post-test (2 years) to the three groups. Preliminary analysis indicate that advised mothers (Group 1) maintain a moderate to low potential of abuse in comparison with the control groups. They were more competent with their second child and showed a lower risk of child abuse than inexperienced mothers (Group 2) or than mothers with not-systematized experience in child rearing (Group 3). We conclude that primary prevention programs contribute to the development of  parental attitudes and competences, with remaining effects that are mostly generalized by the participating mothers to their second child.


Andreu, J.M., García-Bonacho*, M., Esquifino*, A., and Ramírez**, J.M.
Department of Clinical Psychology, *Department of Biochemistry and **Department of Psychobiology, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.  

The relationship between both hormones and different types of aggression, anger and hostility has not yet been sufficiently investigated. High levels of testosterone have been associated with human aggression but this relationship is lacking in the case of cortisol. In the present study, the impact of physical and verbal aggressiveness, anger and hostility on bothtestosterone and cortisol salivary levels was analyzed in a sample of 34 undergraduate male university students. Physical and verbal aggression, anger and hostility were measured using the Spanish version of the Aggression Questionnaire (Buss y Perry, 1992). This questionnaire consists of 29 items concernin g self-reported behavior and feelings, and has a large cross-cultural validation. Sugar-free chewing gum was given to stimulate saliva production. Subjects were asked to chew it and to salivate into polypropylene tubes during four prestablished times during the day. Saliva samples were collected from each subject at four times a day: between 8-9 hr, between 13-14 hrs, between 18-19 hrs, and between 23-24hrs, respectively. Next day, these samples of saliva were assayed in duplicate by the “Coat-A-Counnt” solid phase radioinmunoassay (RIA).The distributional properties of the hormone measurements were at conventionally accepted levels. Findings showed a significant relation between low and high levels of physical aggressiveness and testosterone (57 vs. 133, U=21, p<.05), as well as between low and intermediate levels of anger and cortisol (108 vs. 217, U= 17, p<.05). These results are consistent with previous results.



Angulo,  J.C., Ortega, R. and Neto*, C.
Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Seville, Seville, Spain. *Department of Movement Sciences, Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, Technical University of Lisbon, Cruz Quebrada, Dafundo, Portugal

Based on the idea that the playground is the most likely place for the children to show their aggressive behaviour (Whitney & Smith, 1993; Smith & Sharp, 1994; Pereira, 1999), the present study aims at validating the importance of school playgrounds in order to prevent bullying at school. The objective of this research study is to find out where the play activities and the bullying areas are located in school playgrounds, and how these are related to age, gender and leadership. It aims to make an analysis of free and organized play activities and aggressive behaviour episodes in the playgrounds. Studies have been carried out both in Portugal (Pereira et al., 2000) and in Spain (Ortega & Angulo, 1998; Ortega et al., 1998) confirming the actuality of this problem in the playgrounds. Data shows frequencies of "bullying" and "being bullied" (around 15-20% of children), different kinds of children´s aggressive behaviour, places where bullying takes place and factors associated to the risk of "being a bully" or a "victim" in the school, targeting specific interventions and monitoring changes in the aggressive behaviour over time designed to prevent and respond to bullying in school. In this investigation the methodology used (a model centered in the playground) takes into account the comparison of schools from both countries. This study is focussed in the possible differences regarding the places in the school playgrounds where bullying takes place, within a cross-cultural perspective. The sample consists of students from the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grades in 4 Portuguese and 4 Spanish primary schools. An observational methodology is being used to corroborate information already obtained from other instruments (TMR Network Bullying[1] Questionnaire for Students to evaluate the presence or absence of this problem at the schools studied; and the School´s Registration Form to register descriptive information about population density and space density, structure of physical space, material and equipments, conservation state of apparatus, and so on), with the educational objective of  presenting the intervention techniques and strategies to prevent this problem. [1] Training and Mobility of Researchers Network Project funded by The European Union Commission (ERB FMRX-CT97-0139): Nature and prevention of bullying.


Arriaga-Ferreira, P. and Pais-Ribeiro, J.L.
Departamento de Psicologia da Universidade Lusofona de Humanidades e Tecnologias,  Lisboa, Portugal

The main purpose of this study was to test the association between the violence played in electronic games and the self-reported measures of aggression in adolescents. This dissertation also assessed: the time spent playing video games; the starting age with video games; the perceptions of parental attitudes towards their video game habits; the opinions about the effects of violent video games in the aggressive behavior of children and youths; and Personality dimensions. Six hundred and sixty six adolescents (239 boys and 327 girls), between the ages of 12 and 17 years (M = 14,12), from 8th to 10th grades, completed four questionnaires which assessed sociodemographic data; video game habits; individual components of Aggression, measured by the Portuguese version of the Aggression Questionnaire; and Personality evaluated by the Portuguese version of the Junior Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. A fifth questionnaire was developed to evaluate the violence in the video games played by the adolescents, administrated only to external subjects of this study. Results indicated that video game playing is a popular leisure activity amongst Portuguese adolescents. There was evidence that boys spent more time playing video games, started playing earlier and held less negative opinions about the influence of these types of games, in comparison with girls. Violence played in video games was predictive of total and physical aggression, but only in the female sub-sample. Boys playing video games in arcades were predictive of total, physical, and verbal aggression. Significant sex differences also revealed that boys scored higher on Psychoticism and on Physical and Verbal Aggression, where as girls had higher scores on Neuroticism, Hostility and Anger.


Bond, A., Hiraki, L. and Wingrove, J.
Section of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, UK. 

Premenstrual changes, involving both physical and psychological symptoms, are well documented.  However, a subset of women complain of severe premenstrual disturbance of mood which is categorised as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) within DSM-IV.  The diagnostic criteria for PMDD require that the symptoms are of sufficient severity to impair normal social or occupational functioning.  Some of the common symptoms associated with PMDD are low mood, tension, anger and irritability.  In order to investigate if such mood changes are related to an increase in interpersonal conflict, including changes in aggression, the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) was administered on 3 occasions.  The CTS was designed to measure the use of Reasoning, Verbal Aggression and Violence within the family.  It was administered in two versions, one asked about behaviour over the past year and the other examined behaviour during a follicular and a late luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.  Although an aggressive act itself may be a state phenomenon, the tendency to act aggressively in response to some provocation may be a trait characteristic and so the Life History of Aggression (LHA) questionnaire was also administered. Two groups of women participated in the study, a group who met DSMIV criteria for PMDD and an asymptomatic control group.  38 women completed the CTS and 29 were interviewed for the LHA. There were no significant differences between groups on the CTS completed for the past year.  The PMDD group tended to report more conflicts than the controls during the luteal phase but there was no difference in the methods used to deal with them.  The controls used reasoning more during the follicular phase.  When the results of the 2 phases were compared within group, there was no difference between phase in the controls but the PMDD group had higher scores on the total and verbal aggression factors during the luteal compared with the follicular phase.  There was a significant correlation between the LHA and the CTS 1 year version  (n=29, r=0.69).  Therefore, resolving familial conflicts aggressively is associated with a general tendency to act aggressively.  Women with PMDD are not generally more aggressive but they do report more verbal aggression during the luteal than the follicular phase.


Bondar, N.P. and  Kudryavtseva, N.N.
Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Novosibirsk State University, Siberian Department of Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia

The sensory contact technique* increases aggressiveness in male mice and allows the aggressive type of behavior to be formed as a result of repeated experience of victories in daily agonistic confrontations. Some behavioral domains testify the development of learned aggression in animals. Analysis of the aggressive behavior in male mice with consecutive experience of victories in 2, 10 and 20 days (the T2, T10, T20 winners) revealed that the structure of  winners’ behavior are changing from test to test: the attacking behavior prevailed (81% of the total time) in the behavior of the T2 winners. Attacks and diggings (digging up and scattering the litter on the partner’ territory) prevailed in the behavior of the T10 winners (each approximately 40%). The T20 winners demonstrated half of testing time the aggressive grooming and 25% - the digging behavior. Correlational analysis opened that the number of significant correlations between the behavioral domains (attacking, digging, aggressive grooming, self-grooming, threats, rotations) and between different behavioral parameters (latency, number, total and average time) of one behavioral domain are growing from 2d test to 20th test and the relationships between the behavioral domains  changes qualitatively. The following may be regarded as elements of learned aggression in male mice after twenty days of social victories: 1. Appearance of aggressive grooming (ritual aggression) instead of the intensive attacking behavior. Negative correlations between parameters of the these behavioral domains may testify the replacement of one behavioral patterns by others and reflect learned behavior; 2. Involvement of the digging behavior (indirect aggression) in the hostile behavior together with the threats and attacking behavior. Positive correlations between these behavioral domains may reflex the formation of a common motivational background for the T20 winners’ behavior. It is suggested that sensory contact technique may be used for neurobiological study of learned aggression in humans.
*Kudryavtseva N.N., (1991)  Aggress. Behav. 17: 5: 285-291.


Buchholz, C., Curtayne, E., Morio, H. and Richardson, D.
Department of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA

Nisbett and Cohen’s (1996) seminal work “Culture of Honor” documents the development and persistence of regional differences in beliefs about aggression in the southern United States. The following laboratory study was concerned with regional differences in social representations; particularly, how attitudes and beliefs about aggression develop. Several researchers propose that our attitudes and beliefs about abstract concepts, such as aggression, love, and hate are developed through ongoing social interactions. Social interactions within different sociocultural contexts should lead to cultural and regional differences in beliefs. This study examined the ability of several mechanisms proposed by Dynamic Social Impact Theory (DSIT) to predict the formation of a social representation of aggression in small groups. According to DSIT, an individual’s beliefs are influenced by the strength, immediacy, and number of persons in their social environment. Group discussion should lead to individual changes in attitudes; additionally, attitudes should become more similar to their respective group. Participants were given identical pre- and post- discussion questionnaires that were designed to assess social representations of aggression and physical attractiveness. Each participant was assigned to one of two discussion conditions: aggression (experimental group) or physical attractiveness (control group). In groups of 2-4 people, students discussed four statements relating to their condition. The results revealed that participants who discussed aggression items changed their attitudes on aggression, while participants who discussed physical attractiveness did not change their attitudes on aggression. In the experimental condition (aggression), participants’ agreement on their responses to the items tended to increase after the discussion (i.e. their attitude ratings increased on the “culture of honor” items). Although it was not expected, significant clustering was observed at the level of session. Session can be understood as the period of time when people in the same room, but different groups, discussed the same topics in random order.  Contrary to the hypothesis, no evidence of clustering was found within groups. The results of this experiment found that individuals’ attitudes changed as a result of discussion, but participants’ attitudes did not become more similar to their group.  


Cacho, R., Fano, E., Beitia, G., Vegas, O. and Azpiroz, A.
Department of Basic Psychological Processes and Development,
University of the Basque Country, San Sebastian, Spain.

Two different social stress paradigms (cohabitation in pairs or fixed dyadic interactions) were assessed for their effects on splenic contents of norepinephrine (NE), serum corticosterone levels and in vitro splenocyte proliferative responses to Concanavalin-A, in male OF1 strain mice. For each stress situation two durations were used, namely  5 or 15 behavioral tests in the case of the fixed dyadic interaction subjects and 5 or 15 days of cohabitation in the case of the cohabiting animals. After 2 weeks of individual housing, 24 animals were allocated to cohabitating or fixed dyadic interaction pairs for both durations. No significant difference was detected for spleen NE contents. Serum corticosterone titers were higher in subordinates and in short stress situations, but there was no difference between cohabiting animals and those allocated to the fixed dyadic interactions paradigm. Interaction between social status and duration was also significative. Corticosterone serum levels in dominant animals did not change with time, whereas there was a duration-related decrease in subordinate subject corticosterone titers. In vitro splenocyte proliferative responses to 5 µg/ml Concanavalin-A antigenic stimulation were higher in subordinates and in cohabiting subjects (a 10 µg/ml dose did not produce significant differences). Although a subordination-related immunosupression could have been expected, results in fact idicated just the opposite. Data is available relating inmunoenhancement phenomena to chronic stress situations. These results would coincide with a greater proliferative response in cohabiting animals. But data also exists which indicates a relationship between high glucocorticoid secretion by submissive subjects and reduced splenocyte proliferative capacity. So, on the whole, the subordination-stress-related differences in splenic linfoproliferative response, as well as those observed between social stress paradigms, can not be directly related to observed changes in serum corticosterone levels. These data support the idea that stress does not affect different immunological measures in a clear-cut and consistent way.


Cejka, M.A.
Center for Mission Research and  Study, Maryknoll, New York, USA

Local researchers in Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Guatemala, and the United States are gathering data on grassroots peacemaking attempts in situations of armed conflict taking place over an ethnic or religious divide. Sites were selected on the basis of geographical diversity, duration and intentsity of conflict, and accessibilty of respondents and data, as well as demographic and historical variables. The choice of ethnicity or religion as motivations for the conflicts to be studied are based upon data from Human Rights Watch and the Peace Research Institute at Oslo indicating that these motivations are more typical of current serious conflicts than class, territory, politics, orideology. Researchers are focusing specifically on the following questions dealing with responses at the grassroots level: What is being done? Who is doing it? How is it being done? What motivates it? What were the problems and constraints? Finally, what were the effects? Qualitative methods used to explore these questions will include interviewing, focus groups, personal narratives, documentary analysis, historical techniques such as periodization, and anthropological techniques such as ethnography and participant observation.Preliminary data will be presented on instances of noncollaboration, direct intervention, acts of solidarity, legal recourse, public ritual, educational efforts, and diplomacy--all as practiced by ordinary people--and on the efficacy of each type of intervention. In addition, two quantitative studies will explore: 1) gender differences in motivations and techniques in peacemaking; and 2) the degree to which perceptions of the divine, perceptions of the opponent, and belief in a just world predict involvement, motivations for involvement, or types of involvement in peacemaking.  CMRSM is committed to the facilitation of research on peace and justice issues in a collaborative manor by researchers in the Two-Thirds world. Results of the present study will be disseminated by means of pamphlets, local symposia, videotapes, and a volume to be published by Orbis books. Bernadeen Silva (Mrs).