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The gradual emergence of sex differences in aggression: alternative hypotheses

Hay, Dale F. ORCID: 2007. The gradual emergence of sex differences in aggression: alternative hypotheses. Psychological Medicine 37 (11) , pp. 1527-1537. 10.1017/S0033291707000165

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Nearly a century of observational studies and more recent longitudinal surveys reveal that, in infancy, girls and boys use force at similar rates. Over the next few years boys become significantly more aggressive. Alternative hypotheses accounting for the widening gender gap are evaluated. These include hypotheses about normative patterns of male escalation and female desistance ; boys’ preference for active play that promotes aggression; girls’ tendency to hide aggression; girls’ use of alternative forms of aggression; boys’ increased risk for the cognitive and emotional problems that are linked to aggression; boys’ sensitivity to situational triggers of aggression; and boys’ vulnerability to adverse rearing environments. The evidence bearing on each hypothesis is mixed. In general, the overall difference between the sexes appears to be produced by a minority of boys who deploy aggression at high rates. Three general principles govern the emergence of sex differences in aggression: female precocity, male vulnerability, and the salience of sex as a social category that shapes children’s lives.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Additional Information: Publisher’s copyright requirements: “All contributors retain the right to post the definitive version of the contribution as published at Cambridge Journals Online (in PDF or HTML form) in the Institutional Repository of the institution in which they worked at the time the paper was first submitted, or (for appropriate journals) in PubMed Central or UK PubMed Central, no sooner than one year after first publication of the paper in the journal, subject to file availability and provided the posting includes a prominent statement of the full bibliographical details, a copyright notice in the name of the copyright holder (Cambridge University Press or the sponsoring Society, as appropriate), and a link to the online edition of the journal at Cambridge Journals Online. Inclusion of this definitive version after one year in Institutional Repositories outside of the institution in which the contributor worked at the time the paper was first submitted will be subject to the additional permission of Cambridge University Press (not to be unreasonably withheld). See:
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0033-2917
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 22:23

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