Self-reported aggression and impulsivity in forensic and non-forensic populations: The role of gender and experience

Paul Smith, Mitch Waterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Gender differences in aggressive behavior are traditionally seen as extremely robust. Yet, on closer inspection, the reasons for these differences appear to be incredibly complex as a wide range of moderating variables appears to influence the behaviour. Further, the effect of these variables is often gender specific. We examined aggressive beliefs and self-rated aggressive behaviour and impulsivity in forensic (115 males, 133 females at three closed prisons in the North of England) and non-forensic populations (114 males, and 122 females at the University of Leeds). Participants completed the Revised EXPAGG Questionnaire, the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire, the Aggressive Acts Questionnaire and the Barratt Impulsivity Scale. Violent men and women, while more aggressive than both undergraduates and non-violent offenders, were equally likely to report their involvement in physical acts of aggression and showed similar levels of aggression and impulsivity. Previous experience of aggression, together with elevated levels of anger and impulsivity were better predictors of aggressive behavior than gender in all participants. These results suggest that gender differences in self-report measures (on cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions) in forensic populations may be less clear-cut than many have previously believed, particularly in the most aggressive individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-437
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Gender and forensic samples
  • Impulsivity
  • Questionnaires


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