Restrictive emotionality, affect regulation, and perceived threat as risk factors for aggression in men
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The present study examined the relationships among Restrictive Emotionality (RE), negative affect arousal, and masculine-relevant threat as predictors of aggressive behavior in men. One hundred and twenty-eight undergraduate men participated in a competitive reaction-time task whereby they were given a choice to administer shocks to an ostensible opponent following a win-lose trial sequence. RE was measured with the Gender Role Stress Scale and negative affect arousal was measured by change scores on the Negative Affect and Anger/Hostility subscales of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, administered before and after an experimentally-induced threat. While results did not find that negative affect states influence men’s aggression, RE and the condition of threat significantly predicted direct physical aggression, singly, but not additively. Finally, analyses revealed that a predisposition toward emotion dysregulation fully mediated the relationship between RE and physical aggression. Effects of emotion dysregulation and RE on initiation and maintenance of aggressive behavior are discussed in the context of gender role socialization in men and treatment outcome.