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The development of a questionnaire to assess aggressiveness

Edmunds, George


George Edmunds


The development of a questionnaire measure of/ aggressiveness is a problem which requires consideration of a number of related areas. The first question concerns the nature of aggression and aggressiveness. For the purpose of t his study aggression is regarded as a response delivering noxious stimuli, the ' intent' of which is either to inflict pain on the victim or to acquire extrinsic reward. This formulation appears to the writer to reflect fairly accurately the views of contemporary authorities on aggression (e.g. Buss 1971; Kaufmann1970) . Aggressiveness is a personality variable involving a propensity to perform aggressive responses; it is dispositional, referring according to Buss (1961 ) , to the habit of attacking. An outline of theoretical and empirical research in this field is presented in Part 1.

The second major issue to which this thesis is addressed is the validity of aggressiveness questionnaires . A review of these instruments in Part II indicates that in general they are of little value for the assessment of aggressive tendencies and suggests that a fundamental weakness is in connection with content validity ; in many instances the items included in questionnaires appear to have only limited relevance to aggressive behaviour.

Another possible source of error in validation studies is the experimental design employed; the nature of the sample and the laboratory procedure are among the factors that require particular consideration in this respect. This is discussed in Part III where an attempt is made to establish a rational framework for investigating the validity of an aggressiveness questionnaire. The data from several experiments conducted by the present author suggest that under appropriate conditions positive results can be obtained, and that when the expected findings do not emerge, this may be due to methodological factors , and need not necessarily refute the validity of the assessment device. These experiments provide evidence for the validity of two dimensions, Aggressiveness (A) and Hostility CH), and indicate that different types of aggressive behaviour may be represented by the interaction between the vectors.


Edmunds, G. (1976). The development of a questionnaire to assess aggressiveness. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date May 10, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Psychology
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Psychology, The University of Hull
Award Date Jan 1, 1976


Thesis (148.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 1976 Edmunds, George. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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