Beliefs about aggression from a cross-cultural perspective

Thanzami, Vanlal Beliefs about aggression from a cross-cultural perspective. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Studies have shown consistent sex differences on how men and women view their aggression, with men viewing it as an instrumental act, as a way of achieving a specific goal, white women view it as an expressive act, as a temporary loss of self control. The Expressions of Aggression Scale (EXPAGG) consisting of the instrumental and expressive scales was developed for investigating these beliefs. Most of the studies on the EXPAGQ have been conducted on Western samples, particularly British samples. The first aim of the present research endeavour was to investigate cultural differences on
beliefs about aggression by comparing two distinct cultures, British and Indian. These two cultures were chosen as they represent countries that are referred to as individualistic and collectivistic cultures - the two most distinct cultural dimensions that have been widely studied. Individualism is characterized by competition, emotional distance from in-groups, self-reliance, and hedonism, while collectivism reflects sociability, interdependence, and family integrity (Triandis and Gelfand, 1998). Study I was conducted on a British sample from two ethnic backgrounds, Anglo-Saxons and Asians.
It was predicted that the Anglo-Saxon sample would endorse greater instrumental beliefs than the Asians, while Asians endorsed greater expressive belieli However, results were contrary to this prediction, and there were no individual level association between beliefs about aggression and cultural orientation. This finding could have occurred as a result of
the overlapping of cultures and the social circumstances that surrounds people living in such cultures. Hence the second study was conducted on an Indian sample in India so that there would be no blatant or significant impact of any other culture. The Indian sample consisted of 16 and 26 year olds. Males scored higher than females on the instmmental and expressive scales of the EXPAGU. Overall results on the Indian sample revealed very low reliability scores and hence suggest that the items of the EXIPAGG may not be applicable to the Indian sample. Hence, a further exploratory study on this sample was
carried out, with the aim of developing an instrument designed to measure beliefs about aggression for this population. The next two studies involved using a multi-method approach as a means of investigating this particular sample's beliefs about aggression.
First, interviews were conducted in the same manner as the authors of the EXPAGU conducted their initial exploratory study. Themes were extracted from the transcripts of these interviews and presented to an Indian sample in the form of scenarios. In both these studies the sample belonged to two age groups, 16 and 26 year olds. The findings from these two studies revealed that there were other issues involved when this Indian sample viewed their aggression. Concerns such as how they would appear in public as well as how their behaviour might affect their family name and bring about shame for their
families were raised. All these issues are characteristics of collectivism. The findings of these studies were then used to construct the Attitude Toward Aggression Scale.
Reliability of this new scale was moderate in size, indicating that the items fit together quite well. Implications of the findings of this research endeavour and future research were discussed.

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