RESEARCH ARTICLE


Justification of Physical and Verbal Aggression in Uruguayan Children and Adolescents



Natalia E. Fares1, *, J. Martin Ramirez2, Jose M. Cabrera3, Fernanda Lozano4, Fernando Salas5
1 Sociopsychobiology of Aggression Research Group, Psychobiology Department & Institute for Biofunctional Studies, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), Spain
2 Sociopsychobiology of Aggression Research Group, Psychobiology Department & Institute for Biofunctional Studies, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), Spain and Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University USA
3 Economics Department, Universidad de Montevideo (UM), Uruguay
4 Legal Medicine Department, Universidad de la República (UDELAR), Violence, Abuse & Maltreatment Primary Attention, State Health Service Administration (RAP-ASSE), Uruguay
5 Humanities Department, Universidad de Montevideo (UM), Uruguay


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© 2011 Fares et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Sociopsychobiology of Aggression Research Group, Psychobiology Department & Institute for Biofunctional Studies, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), Spain; Tel: +34 665071234; Fax: +34 913 943 069; E-mail: natfares@hotmail.com


Abstract

This study examines the justification of aggressive acts in Uruguayan children and adolescents in different social situations as a function of age and sex, as well as the effect of differences in socioeconomic status on justification. A total of 663 participants aged 8 to 21 completed a self-report questionnaire designed to measure the justification of eight aggressive acts in six social situations. The results showed that adolescents justified both physical and verbal aggression more easily than children in a wide range of situations. As expected, boys justified physical aggression more easily than girls; however, no differences appeared in regard to verbal aggression. Unexpectedly, no statistically important differences were found in the justification of aggression related to the socioeconomic status of the participants. These findings are discussed in terms of previous studies from other cultures, in the hope of contributing to a deeper knowledge of the complex phenomenon of aggression.

Keywords: Aggression, age, sex, socioeconomic status.