The Relationship among Types of Aggression, Pro-Social Behavior, Sex, and Perceived Emotional Distress

Open Access
Simmons, Danis Temofonte
Graduate Program:
Counselor Education
Doctor of Education
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
March 17, 2008
Committee Members:
  • Richard Hazler, Committee Chair
  • Jolynn Carney, Committee Member
  • James Ewald Johnson, Committee Member
  • Elizabeth A Mellin, Committee Member
  • Children
  • Sex Differences
  • Emotional Distress
  • Aggression Types
  • Aggression
This study was designed to examine forms of aggression and their relationship to sex, and emotional distress. Participants in the study were fourth grade boys and girls (n=91) from a small, rural elementary school. Self-report measures used included a peer nomination form and an intent attributions and feelings of distress scale. Four hypotheses were posed: 1. Boys will be identified as more overtly aggressive than girls; 2. Girls will be identified as more relationally aggressive than boys; 3. Girls will express higher levels of emotional distress than boys; and, 4. The degree of pro social identification by peers versus the degree of overt or relational aggression will be related to emotional distress. The first two hypotheses were conducted using t-tests. Results indicated that boys were significantly more overtly aggressive than girls and similar to girls in relational aggression. A one-way ANOVA and Tukey comparisons were completed to examine hypotheses three and four. Overall, there was no significant difference between the emotional distress of boys and girls on the ANOVA. Tukey comparisons showed, however, that pro social girls were significantly less emotionally distressed over stories of relational aggression than other groups in the survey. These results suggest possible trends worth future study. Limitations of the study, implications and suggestions for future research are included.