2012. Vol.3, No.12, 1035-1048
Published Online December 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1035
Validation and Application of the French Version of the
Aggressive Provocation Questionnaire: Gender and Age
Differences in Aggression
Farzaneh Pahlavan1, Ali Amirrezvani2, Daryl B. O’Connor3
1Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale, Université Paris 5-René Descartes, Paris, France
2Department of Marine Sciences, University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, Mayagüez, USA
3Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
Received September 13th, 2012; revised October 12th, 2012; accepted November 9th, 2012
The Aggressive Provocation Questionnaire (APQ) (O’Connor, Archer, & Wu, 2001) was developed based
on Frijda’s modular theory of emotions (1988), in order to provide researchers with an effective measure
of aggressive tendencies in men. The aim of the current paper is to 1) describe the development and vali-
dation of the French version of the APQ-12; and 2) for the first time, examine its psychometric properties
in a female sample. Two samples of men and women (Study 1: N = 132, male = 54, female = 78; ages 17
- 24 years; Study 2: N = 302, male = 143, female = 159; ages 19 - 59 years) completed the APQ-12 in a
French population. The first study concerned the internal consistency/convergent validity of the French
version of the APQ, and also examined temporal stability of the measures. The second study investigated
the effects of age and gender on aggressive tendencies. The psychometric properties from first study were
then compared to those reported by O’Connor et al. (2001). The psychometric properties of the two scales
were similar, and the scores on the APQ were also positively correlated with those on the AQ and the
Trait-Anger Scales. The results also provided evidence for temporal stability of the French version of the
APQ. However, the results from second study contradicted popular views about the effects of age and
gender on aggressive tendencies. Analysis of the interaction of gender with age category indicated excep-
tionally high aggressive responses by young women (19 - 25 years old) and middle-aged men (26 - 44
years old).
Keywords: Aggressive Behavior; Anger; Scenario Measure; Gender; Age
More than half a century ago, the first comprehensive theory
of human aggression was proposed (Dollard, Doob, Miller,
Mowrer, & Sears, 1939). Since then, research on social behav-
iors have produced a wealth of important insights into aggres-
sive behavior. Methodological improvements, including the
introduction of meta-analytic techniques have increased our
understanding of the important factors that influence the ex-
pression of aggressive behavior (e.g., age, gender, personality,
and environmental stressors). Nevertheless, as abundant and
interesting as the extensive research literature on aggression has
become, existing meta-analyses indicate that problems remain
relating to the definition of aggression and the generalizability
of findings due to a lack of cross-sectional and cross-cultural
studies (Archer, 2004).
The main focus of the present article is 1) to describe the de-
velopment and validation of the French version of a sce-
nario-based measurement of aggression; and 2) to examine its
psychometric and discriminant properties in adult samples of
both sexes and of different ages. With this goal in mind and
based on existing literature, we hypothesized that individuals’
characteristics (e.g., gender and age) could influence their ag-
gressive tendencies. Specifically, we postulated that aggression
would be more endorsed by men than by women. These differ-
ences would be more significant in the case of younger adults
than in older ones. Further, we expected no differences in anger
except for individuals with risky aggressive responses (e.g.,
direct aggression).
Some Methodological Issues in Measuring Aggression
Over 200 definitions of aggression can be found in the psy-
chological literature, most of them state two important features,
1) the behavior is intended to harm the target; and 2) the target
perceives that s/he has been hurt. Researchers have often inter-
preted harm as physical injury. A considerable body of research
on physical aggression has formed the basis for a developmen-
tal model of aggressive behavior (Bettencourt & Miller, 1996;
Vaillancourt, 2005; Vaillancourt, Brendgen, Boivin, & Tremblay,
2003). Defining aggression as physical harm leaves out more
subtle forms of hurtful behaviors that might be more frequent
and significant especially among adults. The question about
other forms of aggression remains important. For example,
what are the origins of social aggression, and how do these
behaviors continue to be expressed as children enter adoles-
cence and adulthood, and how do they relate to social adjust-
ment later on in life?
Furthermore, most research on aggression has involved
young adults, usually students (Archer, 2004). Yet, the behav-
ior-observation context can have diverse meanings and be
based on different structures, such as socio-cultural environ-
ment. The limitation regarding psychological analysis and ag-
gression measurement cannot be overcome unless moving be-
yond the conceptual frameworks based on physical aggression
and taking into account the effect of the larger socio-cultural
environment, and its changes over time.
Considered as inherently dangerous and potentially damag-
ing, directly measuring aggression is particularly difficult, and
it would be inappropriate to encourage people to do real harm
to others (Baron & Richardson, 1994). Therefore, researchers
are under the obligation to ensure that no damage, physical
or/and psychological, is caused to participants or to other living
beings. In addition, being a negatively valued behavior, ob-
serving aggressive behavior is difficult because people refrain
from aggression when they know they are observed (Coie &
Dodge, 1998), even in the case of more subtle forms of hurtful
behaviors (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995).
Nonetheless, researchers interested in studying human ag-
gression have developed a wide variety of methods and tech-
niques (Anderson & Bushman, 1998). At younger ages, the
methods are principally observations, along with reports by
peers, parents, or teachers. Adults are typically studied either by
using laboratory methods or by means of questionnaires. For
some researchers, only laboratory procedures provide precision
about behavioral causality (for comprehensive reviews see
Anderson et al., 1998; Baron & Richardson, 1994; Berkowitz,
1993; Lubek, 1995). Conversely, given their destructive con-
sequences, some researchers consider self-report questionnaires
to be the best way to study socially undesirable behaviors.
Traditional self-reporting methods provide a measure of a
person’s propensity to act aggressively (i.e., aggression in gen-
eral or specific forms of aggression) in general events, which
could be more or less familiar to an individual. Furthermore,
traditional self-report methods do not provide precision about
how the aggressive encounter is perceived and which dimen-
sions individuals use to describe their everyday perception of
the aggressive acts. Perception of aggressive behavior depends
heavily on the context of its observation (e.g., Graham & Wells,
2001; Harris & Miller, 2000). In this matter, most studies based
on self-report methods have examined aggression using a single
action as the unit of observation, isolating the actions of ag-
gressors from those of victims. This choice simplifies the
analysis of the phenomenon and provides measures of the fre-
quency and severity of aggressive actions. Nevertheless, using a
single action as the unit of observation leaves out the eventual
link between a situational cause preceding the aggressive act
(i.e., provocation by the victim) and the aggressive act itself
(i.e., aggression against that victim). On the contrary, an inter-
action involves an action performed by one party, which may or
may not be perceived as a provocation by the other party. The
reaction of the latter may be viewed as a provocation by the
former dependent on behavior-observation context (e.g., same-
sex or opposite-sex, in an intimate relationship or not). Thus,
using interaction as the unit of observation or analysis reveals
the complexity inherent to the aggressive behaviors. For exam-
ple, the aggression of men against men is more socially ac-
cepted than is their aggression toward women. For women, the
risk of facing male offenders is higher than that of facing fe-
male offenders. Nevertheless, men show higher aggressive
tendencies toward women at work, whereas women perceive
the risk of reacting aggressively toward their spouse as being
lower than that of reacting similarly toward other men (Harris,
et al., 2000; Winstok, 2006). Therefore, the social relationships
we experience in everyday life are complex, particularly when
they involve people with whom we do not always agree and
whose needs could be incompatible with our own (Leander &
Chartrand, 2011: p. 83). Managing such conflicting situations is
a fundamental issue in regulation of aggressive behavior, lead-
ing to maladaptive forms of conflict resolution.
Thus, depending on the culture, physical setting, or charac-
teristics of the protagonists, including their gender and age, the
behavior-observation context can have different meanings. An
understanding of the processes underlying, over time, the per-
ception of an aggressive episode associated with conflict situa-
tions of everyday life (e.g., difficulties with work colleagues,
problem in romantic relationships, or ineffective parenting),
experienced by men and women either as a victim or as an of-
fender, would be of practical and theoretical interest. As a mat-
ter of fact, in spite of consistent absence of gender or age dif-
ferences in anger (e.g., see Archer, 2004; Averill, 1983; Frost &
Averill, 1982; Fischer, Smith, Leonard, Fuqua, Campbell, &
Masters, 1993; Suter, Byrne, Byrne, Howells, & Day, 2002)
and emphasized high stability of aggression, differences in
exhibited aggressive acts over time and between the two gen-
ders have been reported (Archer, 2004).
The type of aggressive acts seems to change dramatically
over time, and the changes are not the same for each gender in
terms of the onset of the behavior, its severity, choice of victim,
etc. For example, if some degree of physical aggression is
age-normative without marked disparity between young fe-
males and young males (about 1 - 2 years old) (Izard, Fan-
tauzzo, Castle, Haynes, Rayias, & Putnam, 1995), gender dif-
ferences in aggression become marked only in the early school
years (about 3 - 6 years old; see Coie, et al., 1998). Over time,
while males continue to display physical aggression, females
use more verbal and indirect aggression (Crick, 1995). More
severe, organized, and cross-gender aggression emerges in
early adolescence, peaking in late adolescence (at ages about 14
- 15 years) and subsequently decreases with age (at ages about
16 - 17 years) (Farrington, 1986; Moffitt, 1993). However, the
rate of aggression appears to peak and to drop slightly earlier
for females than males (Moffitt, 1993). These findings are rela-
tively consistent with evidence derived from several out-
standing longitudinal and cross-sectional studies on child and
juvenile aggression (see Loeber & Hay, 1997). On the other
hand, in this matter, not all studies are in agreement, and some-
times the findings seem to be solely dependent on mode of
measurement (Bettencourt & Miller, 1996; Pahlavan, 2004). In
addition, relatively few studies address both gender- and
age-typical aggressive manifestations in adults. For instance, in
Archer’s (2004) meta-analytic review of sex differences in
aggression from real-world settings based on published articles
from 1961 to 2000, there were only 41 self report studies re-
lated to adult aggression compared to 153 studies reporting
aggression in children and young adults. Moreover, there are
relatively few studies on the various aspects of aggression that
differentiate the characteristics of the aggressor and the victim
(e.g. Archer & Haigh, 1997), and even fewer studies that have
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
examined such differentiations in different social contexts.
Gender Differences in Displayed Agg r e ss ion
In order to describe the variety of the aggressive acts com-
mitted by human beings and organize them into manageable
categories, Buss (1966) proposed one of the first typologies of
human aggression (giving the dimensions like physical-verbal,
direct-indirect, and active-passive or proactive/instrumental-
reactive/hostile). Since then, numerous reviews of gender dif-
ferences in aggressive behavior have suggested that the two
sexes differ in the types of aggressive behavior displayed, espe-
cially in terms of physical-verbal, and direct-indirect aggres-
Moreover, a careful examination of the vast literature on ag-
gressive behavior reveals that the gender-related differences
vary as a function of the methodology used to study them.
These differences are not only related to the techniques used
but also to the behavioral aspects observed. Another important
point concerns the way in which aggression is measured
(self/other evaluation, observations, or experimental studies).
Different methodologies seem to systematically give rise to
different magnitudes of gender differences (Bettencourt et al.,
1997). The differences are typically larger on measures of dis-
played aggression and its consequences for the self or others.
Therefore, although decades of research on aggression have
produced important insights about gender-differences, the evi-
dence seems to be far from conclusive. There is clearly a need
for an alternative measurement, which could be used in a labo-
ratory setting as well as real-world contexts. In other words, it
would be worthwhile to devise an instrument enabling evalua-
tion of more fundamental aspects of aggressive behaviors car-
ried out by average people in their everyday life. One such
method is known as the scenario based measurement of aggres-
Scenario Based Measurement of Aggression
The scenario based self-reporting method was developed us-
ing Frijda’s modular theory of emotions (Frijda, 1986, 1988).
According to Frijda, emotions are subjective experiences of
pleasure or pain resulting from appraisal processes of events
(awareness of situational meaning structure) and associated
with felt impulses to approach or avoid, or even an absence of
desire to do anything (awareness of state of action readiness).
As a result, emotions specifically basic emotions could be iden-
tified and defined in terms of a particular form of action readi-
ness. Hence, there is an assumption related to an one by one
relation between felt emotion and urged-action. For example,
anger not only provides a sense of displeasure, but also the urge
to do something in order to remove or harm its agent.
Based on these assumptions, Van Goozen, Frijda, Kindt, and
Van de Poll (1994) devised a scenario type of measure to assess
women’s proneness to anger, the “Anger Situation Question-
naire” (ASQ). The ASQ has been developed to measure anger
disposition (anger-proneness) in terms of “fervently experi-
enced emotion”, “felt intensity” and “action readiness” in re-
sponse to 33 anger-provoking vignettes or scenarios, whenever
a respondent imagine being in each. Each scenario is consid-
ered to be a valid representation of a real-life situation, which
when interpreted and labeled by a woman, might lead her to
behave in a similar way as she would in real-life circumstances.
Following the same principle, Nisbett and Cohen (1996) de-
vised a single scenario to assess aggressive dispositions among
individuals who were insulted or not. O’Connor, Archer, and
Wu (2001) also developed a scenario measure of male aggres-
sion, entitled the Aggressive Provocation Questionnaire (APQ).
The APQ is proposed as an update to ASQ and as a state-based
measure of the male aggressive behavior and its psychometrical
qualities are as robust as those of a widely used self-report
measure of aggression, the AQ (Buss & Perry, 1992). The APQ
is mostly used to measure aggressive tendencies in function of
psychological, physiological or social determinants of aggres-
sion (e.g. Calder, Keane, Lawrence, & Manes, 2004; Elgar,
Waschbusch, Dadds, & Sigvaldason, 2007; O’Connor et al.,
2004; Tremblay & Belchevski, 2004). The APQ is available in
two formats: a 33 vignette and a 12 vignette versions. Similar
to the ASQ, for each anger-provoking vignette, the respondents
are asked to imagine being in described situations and to indi-
cate how they would feel and react in each situation (see meas-
ures section for more details). The results of O’Connor, et al.,
(2001) study involving the development, piloting, and valida-
tion of a vignette-based assessment of the Aggressive Provoca-
tion Questionnaire (from a sample of 25 men aged 19 - 55 years)
and those of study concerned the use of the finalized version of
the Aggressive Provocation Questionnaire (from a sample of
130 men aged 17 - 54 years) showed that 1) the prior self-re-
ported aggression (measured by the AQ) predicted responses to
provoking scenarios (measured by APQ), and 2) the later ques-
tionnaire (APQ) has discriminant value in terms of age
The realness and concreteness of the anger-eliciting scenar-
ios in the ASQ and APQ make them very different from tradi-
tional questionnaires, which ask people to rate how they behave
in terms of general statements. In addition, this approach pro-
vides more information about the simultaneous affective-mo-
tivational and behavioral tendencies induced by the same con-
crete scenarios, in other words its intentionality. Analyzing
behavioral intentionality leads to understanding Why and How
does an individual behave in a certain way and not in some
other way. Information about the Why and How aspects of ag-
gressive behavior would enrich our understanding, because
commonly held beliefs about aggression are highly related to
the development of social competence and moral reasoning. In
the case of the scenario based self-reporting method, scores on
the anger-eliciting scenarios represent not only why, but also
how upset a person believes s/he would be whenever experi-
encing a typical provocative situation and how s/he would react
in such circumstance (see Pahlavan & Andreu, 2009). Above
all, such measures allow assessment of person’s self-reported
disposition to act aggressively by providing suitable situational
information (i.e. behavior-observation context) from which the
participant can reasonably determine how s/he would respond
(O’Connor et al., 2001).
Surprisingly, to date, neither the ASQ nor the APQ has been
validated in both men and women. And, none of these measures
have been adapted and validated for use in French populations.
According to recent studies, culture may moderate many social
psychological phenomena. Different cultures have different
construals of social world (self/others) which could have pro-
found impact on the nature of individuals’ behavioral reactions.
For instance, Nisbett and his colleague (Nisbett et al., 1996)
have explored what they called the “culture of honor” of the
American South and demonstrated marked differences in their
behavioral reactions relative to those of their northern counter-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1037
parts when confronted with insult. Subsequently, among other
things, people are more or less susceptible to exhibit aggression
depending on their age, gender, but also their culture.
These kinds of differences raise questions about generaliza-
bility of some findings, which could contribute to a distorted
portrait of “human nature”. We currently know so little about
the social psychological processes in different subsets of human
beings, and considerably less about the way people think and
behave in their real-world environments. Therefore, the central
aim of the current study was to validate an existing scenario-
based measure of aggression behavior in a sample of male and
female of different ages representing the French adults. For
practical reasons related to the constraints of field study, to
avoid limited affective choice (one choice out of five) used in the
ASQ and to reduce participant burden (33-item in the case of
ASQ or APQ-33 version), the current study focused on adapting
the 12-item version (APQ-12) for use with French samples.
Given the lack of a validated French-version scenario-based
questionnaire, two studies were conducted. The first study was
a replication of O’Connor and colleagues’ study (O’Connor et
al., 2001) designed to examine the psychometric properties of a
French version of the APQ including its construct, its conver-
gent validity, and to determine its test-retest reliability. How-
ever, given small size of the sample, the construct validity was
assessed using only internal reliability. According to most au-
thors (see John & Benet-Martinez, 2000; Judd, Jessor, &
Donovan, 1986), the construct validity must be done using a
confirmatory analysis in addition to internal reliability. Typi-
cally, confirmation of factor structure is done using structural
equation modeling (SEM). Therefore, although our second
study aimed to identify and explain the impact of gender and
age of the participants on the APQ’s scores, its data were used
to verify factor structure of the APQ affective subscales. How-
ever, the sample size was not large enough allowing the use of
a nested model.
Study 1
Method and Procedure
Two bilingual (French-English) graduate students independ-
ently translated the Aggressive Provocation Questionnaire
(APQ) (O’Connor et al., 2001). Each version was then re-
viewed and compared with other version after being back-
translated by the first author and a native English-Speaking
specialist. The finalized French version of the APQ, with the
French standardized versions of the Aggression Questionnaire
(AQ) (Buss & Perry, 1992) and the Trait-Anger Scale (STAS-
Anger scales; Spielberger, Jacobs, Russell, & Crane, 1983)
were administered to 132 students twice with one month inter-
val, in order to examine APQ’s psychometric properties (inter-
nal reliability and convergent validity) as well as its test-retest
reliability. For both test and retest sessions, the questionnaires
were presented in following order: APQ, AQ, and STAS-T.
For the first study, convenience sampling was used. One
hundred and thirty two psychology students (male n = 54, fe-
male n = 78) agreed to complete the questionnaires during class,
but did not do so as part of a course requirement. They were
aged between 17 and 24 years (M = 19.75, SD = 1.51), and
participated on a voluntary basis. However, only 60 students
(male n = 24, female n = 36) out of 132 agreed to complete the
questionnaires for retest.
The Aggressive Provocation Questionnaire APQ (O’Connor
et al., 2001, APQ) is a scenario-based measure developed to
assess aggressive tendencies in terms of experienced emotion
and action readiness, in response to a set of hypothetical pro-
vocative situations. The participants were asked to imagine
being in a series of situations (as shown in Figure 1) and to
indicate 1) how s/he would feel in each situation (angry, frus-
trated, or irritated), measured on a 5-point intensity scale rang-
ing from 0 (not at all) to 4 (extremely); and 2) how s/he would
react to each situation by choosing one of five randomly-or-
dered action responses (avoidance, denial, distant anger, asser-
tive behavior, or aggressive behavior). The action responses
followed the categories outlined below:
Avoiding the situation, denying that something is wrong, or
transforming it into something positive.
Doing nothing, although feel angry.
Distant anger, indirect or delayed angry behavior.
Assertive behavior, confronting the provoking person but
without overt verbal or physical aggression.
Aggressive behavior, direct verbal or physical aggression.
O’Connor and colleagues (2001) regarded these categories as
a part of a list of mutually exclusive, alternative action re-
sponses to provocative situations. Following the O’Connor et al.
procedure, the participants’ behavioral scores were calculated
adding up the number of items checked for each behavioral
choice, and dividing this sum by the total number of items (12
scenarios). Emotional scores were the sum scores across each
of the 12 scenarios.
To test the convergent validity of the French version of APQ,
we also distributed the French standardized versions of the
Aggression Questionnaire (AQ) (developed by Buss & Perry,
Figure 1.
Example item from the Aggressive Provocation Questionnaire (Sce-
nario number 2).
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1039
1992 translated into French by Masse, 2001) and the Trait-
Anger Scale (STAT-T) (developed by Spielberger et al., 1983;
Borteyrou, Bruchon-Schweitzer, & Spielberger, 2008). These
questionnaires are types of standardized personality scales most
frequently used in research on aggression.
The French standardized version of the Aggression Ques-
tionnaire (AQ) consists of four subscales that are designed to
measure dispositional anger (7 items, e.g., “I sometimes feel
like a powder keg ready to explode”), hostility (5 items, e.g., “I
hate them”), verbal (8 items, e.g., “When I get mad, I say nasty
things”), and physical (9 items, e.g., “If somebody hits me first,
I let him have it”) aggression. For each item, the respondent is
asked to indicate on a 5-point Likert scale from “never” to “al-
ways” how often he or she tends to behave in a hostile-aggres-
sive manner. Different researchers have provided information
about the validity and reliability of the AQ, and its factorial
structure (e.g., Bond, Lader, & Da Silveira, 1997; Masse, 2001).
The Cronbach’s alpha estimates of internal consistency of the
standardized version of the Aggression Questionnaire (AQ)
range from .68 to .82 (e.g. O’Connor et al., 2001; Masse, 2001).
The Trait-Anger Scale (STAS-T) is a widely used measure
and consists of 15 items such as “I am angry” that are designed
to measure how often he or she tends to become angry. For
each item, the respondent is asked to indicate on a 4-point
Likert scale from “never” to “always”. High scores on these
scales indicate the person being more likely to perceive a wide
range of situations as anger producing, and respond to such
situations with elevations in transient anger levels. The Cron-
bach’s alpha estimates of internal consistency of the standard-
ized version of the Trait-Anger Scale range from .81 to .94 (e.g.,
Borteyrou et al., 2008; Spielberger et al., 1983).
The missing data (about 3%) were replaced by participants’
average scores for each variable. In order to verify the general
characteristics of the data set, the score distributions were
checked and tested for variance homogeneity. Since the test
detected an unequal variance on aggressive reactions [Bartlett
χ² test: F(9) = 59.34, p < .000] the behavioral scores were
changed into square roots.
Internal Reliability and Convergent Validity
For the APQs three Emotional Subscales, as shown in Ta-
bles 1 and 2, internal reliability (Cronbach’s alphas) was high,
and also in line with the reliability data provided by O’Connor
and his colleagues (anger = .94, frustration = .93 and irritation
= .89), specifically for females participants. Cronbach’s alpha
for the AQ scores and the Trait-Anger Scale were highs, too.
For both sexes, inter-correlations for the APQ-emotional (anger,
irritation) subscales and the AQ (physical aggression, anger,
hostility) as well as STAS-Trait scores were positively corre-
lated. Therefore, internal reliability and the convergent validity
of the APQ-emotional subscales are acceptable and in the pre-
dicted direction.
Table 1.
Observed alpha coefficients and inter-correlations for the APQ subscales, AQ subscales, and the trait-anger scale for male participants (n = 54).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
1-Age 1.00 .07 .08 .05 .02 .24.20 .15 .06 .21 .07 .27 .18 .19
2-Anger (.54).46 .25 .14 .22 .03.07.30 .37 .23 .28 .04 .43
3-Frustration (.86) .36 .10 .04.29 .13 .03 .12 .35 .24 .01 .39
4-Irritation (.88) .11 .21 .03.02.17 .24 .06 .05 .01 .33
5-Avoidance .48 .25 .17 .07 .27 .39 .17
6-Denial 1.00.12 .45 .26 .02.09 .01 .01 .05
7-Distant-anger 1. 00.38 .18 .03.16 .32 .05 .25
8-Assertive reaction 1.00.51 .38.07 .25 .13 .22
9-Aggression reaction 1.00 .57 .18 .30 .37 .27
10-Physical (.76).25 .61 .28 .44
11-Hostility (.71) .18 .02 .20
12-Anger (.76) .34 .71
13-Verbal (.45) .30
14-Trait-anger (.76)
Note: Correlations in boldface are significant at p < .05, The numbers in brackets are the Cronbach’ alpha for the APQ’s affective subscales.
Table 2.
Observed alpha coefficients and inter-correlations for the APQ subscales, AQ subscales, and the trait-anger scale for female participants (n = 78).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
1-Age 1.00 .23 .19 .05.25 .00 .07 .16.03 .02 .18 .05 .09 .09
2-Anger (.83) .56 .69 .27 .20.14 .09 .20 .27 .33 .22 .03 .22
3-Frustration (.89) .56 .07 .10.26 .06 .10.16 .27 .19 .09 .25
4-Irritation (.89).15 .12.19 .01.12 .15 .27 .25 .02 .32
5-Avoidance 1.00.09 .07 .49 .41 .31 .03 .20 .26 .19
6-Denial 1.00.18 .52 .40 .43 .08 .03 .20 .13
7-Distant-anger 1. 00.53 .28 .22 .22 .05 .17 .01
8-Assertive reaction .13 .02 .26 .01
9-Aggression reaction 1.00.42 .04 .20 .20 .29
10-Physical (.83) .35 .48 .46 .56
11-Hostility (.77) .62 .25 .49
12-Anger (.78) .37 .65
13-Verbal (.64).38
14-Trait-anger (.81)
Note: Correlations in boldface are significant at p < .05, The numbers in brackets are the Cronbach’ alpha for the APQ’s affective subscales.
For the APQs Behavioral Responses, the results showed for
males as well as females participants that the APQ-emotional
subscales measures were positively correlated with the APQ’s
measure of aggressive reaction, except for frustration, which
was positively correlated with denial reactions. However, for
both sexes the APQ-anger subscale was negatively correlated
with the measures of avoidance and denial. In addition, the
APQ’s measures of aggressive and assertive reactions were
significantly and negatively correlated with the other three re-
actions, in female as well as in male participants. Nevertheless,
aggressive reaction and assertive reaction were significantly
and negatively correlated, only for male participants. For all
participants, the AQ’s physical aggression, verbal aggression,
anger subscales and Trait-Anger Scale were significantly and
positively correlated with the APQ’s measures of aggressive
choices. However, while for male participants those scores
were negatively correlated with assertive reactions, for females
these reactions were positively correlated with the AQ’s physi-
cal as well as verbal aggression scores.
In line with O’Connor et al. (2001) our data for male partici-
pants showed that the aggressive and assertive action scales
were negatively correlated (r = .51, p < .05), suggesting that
these are alternative response tendencies used by men facing
provocative real-life situations. The results in female partici-
pants were relatively similar to those found for their male
counterparts, except for the APQ’s measure of assertive reac-
tions which were positively and significantly correlated with
the AQ’s physical and verbal aggression scores. In addition,
analyses of variance of the scores revealed significant gender
effects only for the AQ’s physical and verbal aggressions
scores as well as for the APQ’s measure of aggressive re-
sponses, in direction of male participants (see Table 3).
Temporal Stability: Test-Retest Reliability
As mentioned earlier, the data from first study were as well
used to examine the temporal stability of the APQ. Overall
test-retest reliability, as an index of temporal stability was high,
suggesting that the participants’ responses (n = 60) to the ques-
tionnaires were stable over this brief period of time (a month;
see Table 3).
Overall, the results of our first study showed that psychomet-
rical qualities (internal reliability and convergent validity) of
the French version of the APQ were generally highs and ac-
ceptable. Its test-retest reliability was also high. Thus, data from
our first study supported our preparatory work and provided
convincing evidence that the French version of the APQ could
be used in French populations.
Study 2
Method and Procedure
The principal objective of our second study was to reassess
and extend the results of our first study in a large sample of
general population. Given constraints of field study, in second
study we used only the French versions of the APQ and the
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Table 3.
Alpha coefficients, observed means, and standard deviations for trait-anger, AQ, and APQ scales (N = 132).
Analyses of
Males Females Males (n = 54) Females (n = 78)
Test By half Retest Test By halfRetest Mean (SD) Mean (SD) p
Trait-anger .76 .67 .56 .81 .66 .73 2.25 (.44) 2.16 (.45) ns
AQ scales:
Physical aggression .76 .73 .70 .83 .81 .79 2.93 (.73) 2.24 (.75) <.00
Hostility .71 .67 .81 .77 .65 .79 3.01 (.72) 2.96 (.71) ns
Anger .76 .72 .72 .78 .83 .77 2.90 (.78) 2.69 (.76) ns
Verbal aggression .45 .30 .83 .64 .44 .63 3.05 (.65) 2.76 (.69) <.01
APQ emotional subscales
Anger .54 .63 .72 .83 .86 .81 2.84 (.42) 2.89 (.65) ns
Frustration .86 .79 .91 .89 .88 .86 2.23 (.82) 2.09 (.87) ns
Irritation .88 .87 .73 .89 .88 .88 2.76 (8.82) 2.73 (.81) ns
APQ behavioral subscales
Avoidance .57 .67 .128 (.10) .162 (.11) ns
Denial .22 .54 .102 (.84) .119 (.10) ns
Distant-anger .75 .67 .091 (.09) .096 (.09) ns
Assertive reaction .76 .67 .470 (.20) .527 (.16) ns
Aggressive reaction .77 .74 .209 (.16) .097 (.12) <.00
Note: The reliability of action-readiness labeling cannot be calculated, since this is basically a nominal scale. The significance levels on the t-tests between the means of the
male and female respondents are presented. ns = non-significant.
STAS-T. After having read and signed the first part of an in-
formed consent form participants completed questionnaires
measuring aggressive tendencies (APQ and STAS-T). At the
end they signed the second part of an informed consent form
before being thoroughly debriefed and thanked.
For second study, 302 (male n = 143, female n = 159) par-
ticipants were recruited from the general population, via word-
of-mouth. To ensure the generalizability of the data, we con-
ducted this study in the natural environment of faculties (35%)
and workplaces (36% private, 29% public services), and en-
rolled participants who were employed as well recruited college
students. Participants were prospectively approached and asked
if they were willing to take part in a research study examining
individuals’ perception and reactions to conflict situations in
everyday life. Those who volunteered (about 85% of ap-
proached persons) were asked to complete a standard question-
naire after having given informed consent. Participants were
also asked to provide demographic details (age, gender, occu-
pation, speaking language). The mean age for the total sample
was 35.30 years (SD = 11.52 years) and the age range was 19 -
59 years.
After replacing the missing data (about 3% - 5%) by partici-
pants’ average scores for each measure, we checked the distri-
bution of the data and tested for variance heterogeneity. Except
for aggressive reactions [Bartlett test: F(9) = 30.53, p < .00],
the data were normally distributed. Therefore, the behavioral
scores were transformed into square roots.
Explorato ry and Confirmatory Factor Analyses
In their study, O’Connor et al. (2001) did not examine factor
structure of the original APQ-12. However, based on Frijda’s
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1041
theory (1986, 1988) we had a predicted theoretical model con-
sisting of three “unobserved” emotions (anger, frustration and
irritation), which were each predicted by twelve observed vari-
ables (i.e., responses to scenarios) and a fourth unobserved
variable, action responses, that could also be predicted by re-
sponses to the twelve scenarios. The confirmatory factor analy-
sis would then indicate how closely the data fit our hypothetical
model. Therefore, we also used structural modeling in order to
test the construct validity of the APQ. We hypothesized that the
APQ items have three underlying affective constructs (anger,
frustration, and irritation), and are also related to observed
variables, action responses, which could be predicted by those
items. Regarding affective scores, exploratory factor analysis
resulted in eigenvalues (9.35, 2.77, and 2.29) showing clearly a
first strong unrotated factor responsible for 26% of the variance
in the data (with 7% and 6% for second and third factors). Ro-
tated solution (Normalized Varimax rotation) provided a three
factor structure (eigenvalues: 5.32, 5.72, and 3.86; variance:
15%, 15%, and 10%). The results of exploratory factor analyses
made it hard to tell conclusively if we had one or more factors.
Consequently, we use structural modeling to examine the facto-
rial structure of the APQ.
First, because of unequal variance observed on aggressive
responses, we used the parceling method (the average of two or
more items) to model our data (see Little, Cummingham, &
Shahar, 2002; Little, Lindenberger, & Nesselroade, 1999).
Based on the specificity of the context (personal, professional,
and non-specific contents) of conflict, three indicators were
selected out based on the APQ’s twelve provocative situations.
The first parcel or facet represented situations (scenarios num-
ber 2, 7, 8, and 12) in which provocation was inflicted in per-
sonal grounds (embarrassment in front of boy/girlfriend, infi-
delity, etc.). The second facet was related to professional pro-
vocative situations (scenarios number 1, 4, 5, and 9; embar-
rassed by his/her boss, on the way to a job interview, etc.). The
third facet represented non-specific contexts (scenarios number
3, 6, 10, and 11, driving down a street or motorway, looking for
parking, etc.). Then, the hypothesis about underlying structure
of construct variables (anger, frustration, irritation, and action
responses) was tested at aggregate-levels. Lambda was fixed to
1 for the first observed indicator of each latent variable and all
error weights; all other parameters were freely estimated.
Given the ambiguity of rotated and unrotated solutions re-
vealed by our exploratory factor analysis, we examined two
CFA models: a first-order model, and then a second-order one.
The first-order model hypothesized a factorial structure ac-
cording to which responses to the APQ could be explained by
three factors, each facet would have a nonzero loading on the
APQ factor it was designed to measure. Three factors being
highly correlated, for our second-order model we hypothesized
a hierarchical factorial structure according to which covariation
among the three first-order factors (anger, frustration, and irri-
tation) would be explained by their regression on a sec-
ond-order factor, so called negative emotions.
Significant values resulting from our first-order and sec-
ond order models [ (25) = 53.71, p = .001; [ (25) = 67.89, p
= .001] suggested that the fit of data to the hypothesized models
is not entirely adequate. However, given limitations (i.e.,
sensitivity to sample size, its centroid distribution; for details
see Byrne, 2001) we examined other indexes of the good-
ness-of-fit which showed a relatively good fit with the data for
our first-order model (RMR = .025, RMSEA = .075, CFI = .979,
NFI = .967, GFI = .964) compared with our second-order
model (RMR= .037, RMSEA = .089, CFI = .967, NFI = .955,
GFI = .956).
In addition, we examined the three-factor model on the data
from our first study (N = 132, 54 males, 78 females). The re-
sults indicated again significant value for [ (20) = 42.37, p
= .01]. However, in spite of small sample size, the indexes of
goodness-of-fit were acceptable (RMR = .035, RMSEA = .092,
CFI = .970, NFI = .947, GFI = .938). In essence, this replica-
tion constituted the first and more appropriate confirmatory test
of a three-factor model for APQ’s factorial structure.
Thus, for testing our hypothesis based on predictive value of
the affective dimensions of the APQ on action responses, we
used our three-factor model. The resulting statistic indicated
again significant value [ (75) = 169.50, p = .001], but other
indexes of the goodness-of-fit showed good fit with our data
(RMR = .063, RMSEA = .065, CFI = .948, NFI = .0912, GFI
= .932).
As shown in Figure 2, there was a unique contribution of
anger explaining aggressive choices. As a matter of fact,
whereas anger explained, a large part of variance of aggressive
tendencies (β= .81), it had no predictive value regarding asser-
tive tendencies (β = .03). In addition, there was no such effect
for any of the other affective reactions
Internal Reliability and Convergent Validity
Overall, internal reliability and convergent validity analyses
of the data showed the same effects and tendencies found for
our first study (see Tables 4 and 5).
For the APQs three Emotional Subscales, internal reliability
analyses of the data showed again that their Cronbach’s alphas
were highs and within acceptable boundaries (i.e., >.70; see
Tables 4 and 5). Broadly speaking, they were the same for
women (anger = .79, frustration = .89, and irritation = .88) and
men (anger = .79, frustration = .87, and irritation = .84), and
also in line with the reliability data provided by O’Connor and
his colleagues (anger = 0.94, frustration = 0.93 and irrita- tion =
0.89) and those from our first study. For all participants, the
APQ-emotional subscales were as well positively and sig- nifi-
cantly correlated with the scores on the Trait-Anger Scale.
For the APQs Behavioral Responses, the results also
showed that the APQ’s measure of aggressive reaction was
significantly and positively correlated with the APQ-emotional
subscales measures and the Trait-Anger scores, but negatively
with assertive reactions. This pattern of results was found in
both men and women.
Age was negatively correlated with the frustration score, the
frequency of denial and the aggressive behavioral choices,
whereas, it was positively correlated with assertive behavioral
reactions. However, analyses showed that these correlations
were significant only for women (see Table 5). For men, only
correlation between age and denial responses was significant
(see Table 4).
Consistent with other studies (Archer, 2000; O’Connor et al.,
2001), the correlation between age and affective scores (anger,
frustration, and irritation) was negative, although only signifi-
cantly for frustration in female participants.
Age and Gend er Effects on APQ Scores
In order to investigate the impact of gender and age on APQ
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1043
Figure 2.
Model of causal structure related to participants aggressive tendencies as measured dy the APQ, illustrating anger as an affect directly related to ag-
gressive tendencies.
Table 4.
Correlations between subscales of the APQ, and the trait-anger scale for male participants (n = 143).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1-Age 1.00 .04 .05 .04 .06 .17 .08 .03 .02 .01
2-Anger (.79) .54 .64 .15 .06 .08 .16 .41 .38
3-Frustration (.87) .45 .13 .07 .01 .06 .26 .26
4-Irritation (.84) .23 .11 .05 .04 .35 .24
5-Avoidance 1.00 .33 .03 .57 .28 .26
6-Denial 1.00 .05 .61 .11 .06
7-Distant-anger 1.00 .39 .01 .07
8-Assertive reaction 1.00 .38 .05
9-Aggressive reaction 1.00 .43
10-Trait-anger scale (.79)
Note: Correlations shown in boldface are significant at p < .05, Numbers in brackets are the Cronbach’ alpha for the APQ’s affective subscales.
scores, the sample was split at the first (25 % of participants
aged less than 25 years), second (50% of participants aged
more/less than 33 years), and third (25% of participants aged
more than 45 years) quartiles of participants’ age. Specifically,
the participants were stratified into three age categories
(Women: age 19 - 25, M = 22.03 years, SD = 1.96; age 26 - 44,
M = 33.95 years, SD = 5.74; age 45 - 59, M = 51.18 years, SD
= 3.82; Men: age 19 - 25, M = 23.02 years, SD = 1.76; age 26 -
44, M = 33.66 years, SD = 6.35; age 45 - 59, M = 52.80 years,
SD = 3.50). There was no a priori hypothesis about these age
categories. However, there were some intuitive hypotheses
regarding the peak years of competitive pressures inherent to
professional and personal life (Archer, 2004). We emphasized
that the pattern of pressures of professional and personal life
was bimodal, with the highest level of pressures for both sexes
aged between 25 and 45 years.
A 2 (gender) × 3 (age) multivariate analysis of variance
(MANOVA) revealed significant main effects of gender, F(8,
289) = 2.21, p < .03, η = .94, and age, F(16, 578) = 3.76, p
< .000, λ = .82 and a gender × age interaction, F(16, 578) =
1.99, p < .02, λ = .90.
For affective responses univariate analyses showed no sig-
nificant effects. For follow-up analyses we used some contrast
statements specifying those related to a gender × age interaction
in which we were interested. The analyses showed only a sig-
nificant difference for scores on anger between the youngest
females and middle-aged males in direction of the females, F(1,
133) = 6.05, p < .02, η² = .46 (see Table 6).
Univariate analyses for behavioral choices revealed that the
gender × age interaction effects were significant only for ag-
gressive action, F(2, 296) = 4.47; p < .02; η²= .25, and assertive
responses, F(2, 296) =3.87; p < .03; η² = .23.
The pattern of the data showed the most frequent aggressive
choices for the youngest women and middle-aged men (see
Table 6). Yet, aggressive choices were lowest among the mid-
dle-aged women and the youngest men. The frequency of ag-
gressive choices was somewhat higher for older men than for
older women. For assertive choices, the opposite tendency was
found for younger participants, with more assertive choices in
direction of the men. Practically the same assertive-choice rate
was found for older and middle-aged men and women, with
higher frequencies for the older participants. direction of the
men. Practically the same assertive-choice rate was found for
older and middle-aged men and women, with higher frequen-
cies for the older participants.
A 2 (gender) × 3 (age) × 3 (context) analysis of variance
Table 5.
Correlations between subscales of the APQ, and the trait-anger scale for female participants (n = 159).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1-Age 1.00 .12 .19 .15 .06 .22 .05 .21 .25 .09
2-Anger (.79) .43 .43 .20 .19 .19 .06 .18 .31
3-Frustration (.89) .53 .02 .00 .09 .09 .17 .27
4-Irritation (.88) .04 .02 .08 .10 .24 .23
5-Avoidance 1.00 .11 .16 .55 .03 .18
6-Denial 1.00 .04 .63 .01 .10
7-Distant-anger 1.00 .36 .00 .09
8-Assertive reaction 1.00 .42 .07
9-Aggressive reaction 1.00 .19
10-Trait-anger scale (.70)
Note: Correlations shown in boldface are significant at p < .05, Numbers in brackets are the Cronbach’ alpha for the APQ’s affective subscales.
Table 6.
Mean emotional and behavioral scores and standard deviations, by participant gender and age group (N = 302).
Anger frustration irritation AvoidanceDenial Distant-anger Assertive reaction Aggressive reaction
Female subjects
Age 19 - 25 (n = 42)
M 32.41a 24.24a 34.74a .228a .195ab .113ab .318abc .147d
SD 7.04 10.93 6.85 .124 .123 .111 .206 .103
Age 26 - 44 (n = 79)
M 29.66 22.17 29.68a .202b .143bcd .070b .522bc .064abcd
SD 8.19 10.73 10.72 .112 0.106 .077 .187 .074
Age 45 - 59 (n = 38)
M 30.65 18.78a 32.08 .248c .113de .097a .465c .079bd
SD 9.27 13.01 10.76 .134 .108 .089 .189 .086
Male subjects
Age 19 - 25 (n = 35)
M 28.97 22.20 31.68 .202 .172efg .043a .465a .119a
SD 8.55 10.22 7.05 .137 .101 .062 .219 .107
Age 26 - 44 (n = 73)
M 29.01a 21.28 31.74 .156abcd .097acf .087a .528b .133b
SD 7.19 10.62 8.75 .123 .108 .091 .227 .145
Age 45 - 59 (n=35)
M 30.38 20.18 30.82 .236d .115g .088a .438b .124c
SD 9.14 11.77 10.18 .147 .092 .104 .230 .159
Note: Means in the same column that share subscripts differ at p < .05 in post-hoc analyses.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
taking into account the APQ’s contextual specificity (personal,
professional, and non-specific) revealed a significant three-way
interaction. Analyses by context showed for the non-specific
context scenarios significant age by gender interaction effects
for aggressive, F(2, 296) = 3.90, p < .03, η² = .26, and assertive
choices, F(2, 296) = 3.11, p < .05, η² = .21. The highest aggres-
sive choices were found for youngest females and older males
participants (Females: M = .060 vs M = .025 vs M = .040;
Males: M = 0.036 vs M =.096 vs M = .122). For assertive
choices, the highest frequencies were found for older females
and middle-age males participants (Females: M = .405 vs M
= .544 vs M = .559; Males: M = .529 vs M = .586 vs M = .436).
In the case of professional context, the same interaction effect
was found for aggressive choices only, F(2, 296) = 3.33, p
< .04, η²= .22, with most frequent aggressive choices for
younger participants, in direction of the females (Females: M
= .197 vs M = .048 vs M = 0.086; Males: M = .129 vs M = .103
vs M = .114). There was no such significant effect for personal
Univariate ANOVAs also showed that a main effect of age
was accounted for by differences between the groups on the
APQ action responses scores only. Specifically, significant
effects for age were found for avoidance, F(2, 296) = 6.52,
p< .002; η² = .30, denying, F(2, 296) =10.52, p< .000; η² = .38,
and assertive reactions, F(2, 296) =10.90, p < .000; η2 = .38.
Older participants were more likely to avoid provocative situa-
tions compared to their younger counterparts (M = .215 vs M
= .179 vs M = .242). For middle-aged participants the most
frequent choice was assertive (M = .391 vs M = .525 vs M =
0.451), whereas for younger participants it was rather denying
(M = .183 vs M = .120 vs M = .113) responses.
Furthermore, a main effect of gender revealed and explained
by differences between males and females on the APQ aggres-
sive action response score only, F(1,296) =3.94; p < .05; η²
= .24, with more aggressive action responses in direction of the
male participants (M = .125 vs M = .097).
The principal aim of the present research was to examine the
reliability and, for the first time, assess the possibility of ex-
tending the use of a French version of the APQ-12 to female
participants. The results showed that the French APQ is com-
parable to the English version in terms of its psychometric
qualities and temporal stability for men as well as for women.
As shown in Table 7, analysis of the inter-correlations between
the APQ’s emotional and behavioral scores for French male
participants were closed to those observed by O’Connor et al.
(2001), except for assertive reactions. While for French sample,
assertive choices were negatively correlated with emotional
responses, for English sample those correlations were rather
positives except for frustration subscale. On a more interesting
matter, the comparison between two samples revealed signifi-
cant differences for all measures except for aggressive choices;
male French participants seemed to be as aggressive as their
English counterparts.
In summary, the results of these studies comparing men and
women of different ages showed that 1) there were positive
correlations between negative affective responses and aggres-
sive choices in both men and women facing provocative situa-
tions; 2) the correlations between aggressive and assertive ac-
tions were negative; 3) age was negatively correlated with frus-
tration and denial responses, and positively correlated with
assertive choices, especially in women; 4) the feeling of anger
was a better predictor of aggression, in both women and men,
and 5) traditional gender-related moderation of aggressive ten-
dencies was not found for young men and women.
Part of our results confirmed traditional gender-related me-
diation of aggressive tendencies, reflecting the absence of gen-
der differences for anger, and its presence for aggressive re-
sponses, in the direction of the males. However, the analyses of
our data showed that this influence varies depending on other
variables, such as age and behavior-observation context. Actu-
Table 7.
Comparison between data from the second study (male participants aged 19-59 years) and those from O’Connor et al. (2001)’s third study (male
participants aged 19 - 54 years).
Alpha coefficient Analyse of variance
O’Connor’s study 3/ O’Connor’s study 3 (N = 130)Present study 2
(n = 143)
Present study 2
1 2 3 4 5 6 Mean (SD) Mean (SD) t p
1-Age .04
.05 .04 .03 .02 28.80 (7.88) 35.30 (11.52) 5.47 <.001
2-Anger .03 .54 .64
.16 .41 37.35 (14.90) 29.34 (8.01) 6.79 <.001
3-Frustration .08 .70 .45
.06 .26 37.36 (15.98) 21.24 (10.76) 9.65 <.001
4-Irritation .08 .65 .83 .04 .35 47.26 (16.14) 31.5 (8.71) 9.91 <.001
Reaction .23 .03
.02 .14
.38 12.20 (3.37) 5.86 (2.76) 16.92 <.001
Reaction .05 .48 .30 .41
.12 1.13 (1.72) 1.53 (1.68) 1.93 ns
Note: Correlations shown in boldface are significant at p < .05.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1045
ally, the analyses of the data for youngest participants (19 - 25
years) revealed critical differences between females and males
on anger and aggression scores, in direction of the females.
This is indirectly consistent with findings that the rate of ag-
gression is maximal during the peak years of sexual activity
(Archer, 2004) and it drops slightly earlier for females than
males (Moffitt, 1993). Nevertheless, note that the APQ is a
scenario-based instrument that assesses the expression of indi-
viduals’ beliefs about a standard set of provoking situations,
rather than measuring people’s real expression of anger and
aggression. These hypothetical responses, may therefore differ
from those that would be given in reality, for several reasons,
including the relative absence of provoking situations in indi-
viduals’ personal lives and the inhibition of risky aggressive
responses when the cost-to-benefit ratio is high (Björkqvist,
Thus, we can speculate that the hypothetical nature of the
responses could explain why young women in our samples had
a higher score on proneness to anger and aggressive action.
This would also match with the Bettencourt and Miller’s idea
that when verbal or written aggression is involved, gender dif-
ferences decrease (Bettencourt et al., 1996), even turn in the
female direction (Björkqvist, 1994). Does this suggest that
women are more inhibited about aggressive reactions? Looking
at our results, this does not appear to be the case. Indeed, al-
though in our sample, women expressed more anger, only the
youngest ones were more aggressive than men, specifically in
the professional context. This raises the issue of within-gender
variation and means that gender differences are partial and
dependent upon the individuals as well as situational character-
The results reported here led to the identification of more ex-
treme groups of men and women, and shed some light on the
merits of the text-evoked imagery methodology for the empiri-
cal investigation of aggression. In our opinion, optimal emo-
tional and behavioral disposition evaluations should be based
on empirical as well as theoretical viewpoints that attempt to
carve individuals’ dispositions along the lines of beliefs that
generate the relevant psychological characteristics. The sce-
nario-based self-report methods such as the ASQ or APQ could
be taken as the early examples of test constructions based on
psychologically relevant beliefs related to aggressive tendencies.
Founded on an integrative theoretical view taking into account
flexibility and context-dependent outcomes of social processes,
these approaches represent coherent ways to proceed. Both are
based on an anger-readiness causal pathway using social inter-
action as the unit of analysis. A scenario-based evaluation tool
could have clear benefits in future psychological research. In-
deed, for many human psychological research questions, it
might be desirable to characterize the dispositional tendencies
of participating individuals, in terms of intentionality. For in-
stance, it is possible that some experimental and situational
contexts have more specific impact in individuals with certain
dispositional tendencies than in others. Many other possibilities
could be envisioned, but to evaluate such possibilities, a
straightforward psychometric tool is needed. In this work we
followed the lead of O’Connor et al. (2001) whose APQ, which
evaluated the emotional dimensions (anger, frustration and
irritation) as well as their related behavioral reactions (avoid-
ance, denial, distant anger, assertive and aggressive behaviors),
provided a simple scenario-based self-report evaluation tool, for
men. Nevertheless, in the construction of the French version of
the APQ we also attempted to evaluate these tendencies in
O’Connor et al. (2001) results have now been shown to be
reliable in both men and women. Obviously this consistent
finding has to be established regarding its factorial structure.
The question is that either the three-dimensional emotional
structure is enough to explain affective reactions to conflict
situations of the everyday life, with an anger-aggression causal
path, or other emotional dimensions such as fear, sadness or
anxiety are needed to complete the affective sphere of beliefs
related to aggressive tendencies. Our view is that the latter
proposition is much more likely, even though this important
issue cannot be resolved from the present data set. We did not
focus on experience of these emotions, although the existing
literature supports this point of view. For instance, Campbell
(1999) suggested that women more easily experience fear in
potentially provocative situations and that this inhibits their
direct aggression. For Campbell (2006), the likelihood of ag-
gression in a provocation context depends on the relative
strengths of the person’s anger and fear. Accordingly, while
men and women do not differ in the frequency or intensity of
their anger (Archer, 2004), they may differ in frequency and
intensity of fear and fearful behavior. In their review of ex-
perimental studies, Eagly and Steffen (1986) noticed that
women report more guilt and anxiety than men do as a conse-
quence of aggression. Among children and adults, researchers
have generally concluded that females experience fear more
intensely and more frequently than males (e.g., Cŏté, Nagin,
Vitaro, Brendgen, & Tremblay, 2002). Hence, faced with the
same highly provocative situation, the enhancement of aggres-
sion in females might stem from their increased level of anger
as well as their decreased level of fear. Therefore, age and gen-
der affective and behavioral differences need to be more fully
explored. Surely much can be learned from tracking develop-
mentally such emotional dimensions and looking for additional
gender differences as well as fluctuations of these tendencies in
terms of sociocultural changes over time (see Pahlavan et al.,
Overall, we think that our data suggest that the APQ repre-
sents a straightforward psychometric tool which could provide
useful insights for underlying Why and How people think about
their aggressive behavior. However, while the individual level
of analysis concerns factors that are important precursors to
understanding the dispositional patterns of male and female
aggression, the situational or contextual level (insult, personal
failure, and so on) focuses on the correlates of these patterns.
Furthermore, while each of these areas might contribute differ-
entially to the subsequent rates of female and male aggression,
their interaction would be critical for understanding the corre-
lates of aggression involving women and men. Hence, further
research should examine aggressive tendencies, including via
experimental manipulation task, in order to verify the contex-
tual sensitivity of the APQ as a scenario instrument involving
text-evoked imagery.
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