Excuses, excuses: A meta-analytic review of how mitigating information can change aggression and an exploration of moderating variables
Version of Record online: 6 JUN 2013
© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 39, Issue 6, pages 472–481, November-December 2013
How to Cite
Barlett, C. P. (2013), Excuses, excuses: A meta-analytic review of how mitigating information can change aggression and an exploration of moderating variables. Aggr. Behav., 39: 472–481. doi: 10.1002/ab.21491
- Issue online: 7 OCT 2013
- Version of Record online: 6 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 APR 2013
- Manuscript Received: 16 NOV 2012
- mitigating information;
- aggressive behavior
Research in the aggression domain has been mixed regarding the effectiveness of using mitigating information (e.g., excuses, apologies) to reduce aggressive behavior after a provocation. Aggression theory (e.g., general aggression model) posits that mitigating information may cues re-appraisal processes to potentially change aggressive behavior. If re-appraisal processes are engaged, aggressive behavior is likely to decrease. Currently, no published study has synthesized the literature to test such theoretical claims. The current study used meta-analysis to test this effect and examine the influence of several possible moderators. Results showed a significant negative effect size, suggesting that mitigating information does indeed reduce aggressive behavior after a provocation. However, these results were qualified by several significant moderators. Results showed that mitigating information reduces aggression when (a) the information did not come from an apology, (b) the non-apologetic mitigating information was high quality, and c) the provocation was mild (vs. strong). Theoretical extensions are discussed. Aggr. Behav. 39:472–481, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.