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Role Stress and Aggression among Young Adults: The Moderating Influences of Gender and Adolescent Aggression
Unformatted Document Text:  1 ROLE STRESS AND AGGRESSION AMONG YOUNG ADULTS: THE MODERATING INFLUENCES OF GENDER AND ADOLESCENT AGGRESSION That role strain is an antecedent to aggression has been documented in both the stress and deviance literature (Agnew 1992; Brezina 1996; Kaplan 1986). In general, scholars argued that persons under severe role stress may resort to conventional and/or unconventional coping responses in order to assuage the emotional pains induced by role stress (Agnew 1992; Kaplan 1986). Use of aggression thus may constitute one of the unconventional or deviant coping responses to severe role stress (Kaplan 1996). While it is quite clear that individuals under severe role stress may engage in aggressive behavior, it is not clear, however, whether certain individuals are much more likely than others to respond to role stress with aggression. Of a particular concern, for example, is whether or not persons who have manifested an aggressive tendency during early adolescence may become more (or less) aggressive when they experience severe role stress as young adults and further, whether the relationship among current aggression, role stress, and prior tendency of aggression may vary by social groups. On the one hand, we may expect that persons who have relied on aggressive responses as a stress reduction mechanism during adolescence may perceive it instrumental and legitimate to continue using aggression in dealing with current role stress. Thus they may be more likely to respond to severe role stress with aggressive behavior than those without a history of aggression. On the other hand, however, it may be equally anticipated that those who have been aggressive as adolescents may be less likely to resort to aggressive responses to severe role stress as young adults, especially when prior use of aggression may be incongruent with one’s prescribed social roles and thus may have been discouraged. In this study, we explore a circumstance in which a salient social characteristic, i.e., gender, may condition the way in which past aggressive responses influence the current use of aggression as a deviant coping response to severe role stress. Although strain-deviance theorists have long postulated that one’s tendency of deviant coping (i.e., deviant dispositions) may influence current choice of coping mechanisms in dealing with severe role stress (Agnew 1992; Brezina 2000; Kaplan 1996), none of the theorists, however, have extended the stress – deviance paradigm to address specifically whether the extent to which deviant dispositions predict current choice of coping may vary by gender. Gender is an important social characteristic, highly differentiated by socialization and stratification (Eagly 1987; Lerner 1985; Maccoby 1990; Underwood, Coie, and Herbsman 1992). Thus exploring gender differences in stress - deviant coping

Authors: Liu, Ruth. and Kaplan, Howard.
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ROLE STRESS AND AGGRESSION AMONG YOUNG ADULTS:
THE MODERATING INFLUENCES OF GENDER AND ADOLESCENT AGGRESSION
That role strain is an antecedent to aggression has been documented in both the stress and deviance literature (Agnew 1992;
Brezina 1996; Kaplan 1986). In general, scholars argued that persons under severe role stress may resort to conventional and/or
unconventional coping responses in order to assuage the emotional pains induced by role stress (Agnew 1992; Kaplan 1986). Use of
aggression thus may constitute one of the unconventional or deviant coping responses to severe role stress (Kaplan 1996).
While it is quite clear that individuals under severe role stress may engage in aggressive behavior, it is not clear, however,
whether certain individuals are much more likely than others to respond to role stress with aggression. Of a particular concern, for
example, is whether or not persons who have manifested an aggressive tendency during early adolescence may become more (or less)
aggressive when they experience severe role stress as young adults and further, whether the relationship among current aggression, role
stress, and prior tendency of aggression may vary by social groups. On the one hand, we may expect that persons who have relied on
aggressive responses as a stress reduction mechanism during adolescence may perceive it instrumental and legitimate to continue using
aggression in dealing with current role stress. Thus they may be more likely to respond to severe role stress with aggressive behavior
than those without a history of aggression. On the other hand, however, it may be equally anticipated that those who have been
aggressive as adolescents may be less likely to resort to aggressive responses to severe role stress as young adults, especially when prior
use of aggression may be incongruent with one’s prescribed social roles and thus may have been discouraged.
In this study, we explore a circumstance in which a salient social characteristic, i.e., gender, may condition the way in which past
aggressive responses influence the current use of aggression as a deviant coping response to severe role stress. Although strain-deviance
theorists have long postulated that one’s tendency of deviant coping (i.e., deviant dispositions) may influence current choice of coping
mechanisms in dealing with severe role stress (Agnew 1992; Brezina 2000; Kaplan 1996), none of the theorists, however, have extended
the stress – deviance paradigm to address specifically whether the extent to which deviant dispositions predict current choice of coping
may vary by gender. Gender is an important social characteristic, highly differentiated by socialization and stratification (Eagly 1987;
Lerner 1985; Maccoby 1990; Underwood, Coie, and Herbsman 1992). Thus exploring gender differences in stress - deviant coping


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