Laboratory and questionnaire measures of aggression among female parolees with violent or nonviolent histories

Authors

  • Don R. Cherek,

    Corresponding author
    1. Human Psychopharmacology Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of Texas–Houston, Health Science Center, Houston, Texas
    • Department of Psychiatry/UTMSI Rm 340, University of Texas–Houston, Health Science Center, 1300 Mousund Street, Houston, TX 77030-3497
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  • Scott D. Lane,

    1. Human Psychopharmacology Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of Texas–Houston, Health Science Center, Houston, Texas
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  • Donald M. Dougherty,

    1. Human Psychopharmacology Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of Texas–Houston, Health Science Center, Houston, Texas
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  • F. Gerard Moeller,

    1. Human Psychopharmacology Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of Texas–Houston, Health Science Center, Houston, Texas
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  • Sheila White

    1. Human Psychopharmacology Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of Texas–Houston, Health Science Center, Houston, Texas
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Abstract

Female parolees were recruited into a laboratory study to determine the relationship between their previous aggression history, questionnaire measures of aggression, and behavioral measures of aggressive responding using a laboratory methodology: the Point Subtraction Aggression Paradigm (PSAP). Subjects were assigned to a violent or nonviolent group based on their criminal history. Subjects participated in sessions in which they were given three response options: (1) nonaggressive responding that earned money, (2) aggressive responding that ostensibly subtracted money from another fictitious person and was defined as aggressive since it resulted in the ostensible delivery of an aversive stimulus (subtraction of money) to another person, and (3) escape responding that protected the subject's earnings from periodic subtractions initiated by the fictitious other person. Results indicated that the violent female parolees emitted significantly more aggressive responses than subjects in the nonviolent group. This study provides additional external validity as well as evidence for convergent and discriminant validity for PSAP laboratory measurement of human aggressive responding and extends these findings to female parolees. Comparisons to previously published data with male parolees showed that gender differences were found among violent but not nonviolent parolees. Aggr. Behav. 26:291–307, 2000. © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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