The gender differences in aggression

Aggression in Children

Martha Ramsey Saint Leo University

Research Methods I: PSY-530

Instructor Lara Ault

July 3, 2022



Aggression in Children


Aggression in children is the first symptom of many underlying issues. Occasional outbursts of aggression in children are expected, but if it frequently occurs in a pattern, it is regarded as a problem (Masud et al., 2019). Additionally, if not well-checked, aggression in children can be detrimental to their health. Sometimes it is forceful, inappropriate, non-adaptive, verbal, or physical activities designed to pursue personal interest.

As of 2010, statistics have shown that aggression in children was reportedly at 35% in South Asian countries. Based on the current statistics, they demand a lot of hard work to be done for the behavior modification of children. The key to handling the behavior is understanding the factors that trigger aggression in children (Martinelli et al., 2018). The neurobiological theories affirm that low serotonin levels and increased operations of dopamine and epinephrine are linked with aggressive behaviors. In comparison, neuroimaging studies have shown that aggressive behaviors are linked with abnormalities associated with the cerebral cortex’s limbic, frontal, and temporal lobes (Perrotta & Fabiano, 2021). This research paper aims to discuss and provide an overview of the causes and effects of aggressive behaviors in children.

Research Questions

What are the gender differences in aggression?


Boys are considered to be more physically aggressive than girls.


Literature Review

Several research studies have affirmed that aggression in children has become a significant concern in modern society. For example, in his research, Cuellar (2015) argues that. Mental and behavioral disorders of children trigger their aggression behaviors, which may be detected and treated in any number of settings, including a pediatrician’s or psychologist’s office, schools, and the juvenile justice system. Additionally, Shamsa (2014), in his research, affirms that psychologically, aggressive children remain unhappy, upset, and distressed to the point of indulging in fighting with others and ending their conversations in conflict. As a result, these children are at a high risk of developing psychiatric problems (Pouw et al., 2015). Research also shows that aggression in children can emanate from media violence, prior experiences, and actual trauma that could trigger the fight response within the nervous system.

The existence of unhealthy relationships and communication gaps between parents and children also play a critical part in affecting their behaviors. (Fikkers et al., 2013). Further research has shown that psychological problems in parents, including drug abuse and misuse, alcoholism, and depression, among others, can significantly contribute to aggressive behaviors in children.

Understanding the factors that trigger the state of aggression makes it easy to handle and manage aggression. Siever (2008) elaborates that the neurobiological theories have suggested that the low serotonin levels and increased activity of dopamine and epinephrine are highly linked with aggressive behavior in children. In his further studies, Siever (2008) argues that aggressive behaviors are linked with abnormalities and other mental problems, such as the cerebral cortex’s limbic, frontal, and temporal lobes. Moreover, studies have shown that aggression is highly forceful, inappropriate, and non-adaptive verbal or physically designed to pursue personal interest (Stuart, 2009). According to Kanne and Mazurek (2011), several factors contribute to the development of aggressive behaviors, primarily based on

The gender differences in aggression. Research also affirms that gender is a critical factor in the line of aggression trajectories. For instance, aggression in early childhood is a predictor of engagement in later antisocial behaviors associated with boys, which is not a similar cause for girls (Coyne et al., 2010). At the ages five and 11, the number of boys engaged in a marked level of physical aggression has been stable, i.e., 3.7%. In contrast, on the other hand, there has been a tremendous decrease in the number of girls who are highly physically aggressive, i.e., from 2.3 % to 0.5% Lochman et al., (2012) extensively state in their report.

Research Methodology

In reviewing the concepts of this research, i.e., causes and effects of aggression behaviors in children, the researcher adopted the Systematic Literature Review Methodology. This methodology entails a systematic way of collecting, critically evaluating, integrating, and presenting findings from multiple research studies, based on the research questions relating to big data in smart cities (Nastaran et al., 2021). Additionally, the researcher depended on qualitative data and research surveys relating to the topic. With the review of different literature materials, the researcher managed to obtain critical information that would form the basis of the presentation of the findings on the approaches, techniques, and architects of big data on smart cities. The population chosen in this research comprised of reviewing several peer-reviewed journals published in the recent past (Mohajan, 2018). The researcher also depended on various journal articles published in different libraries to understand the subject of this research and deduce conclusions on the same.


Analysis and Findings

One of the most consistent and vigorous gender differences in the psychological literature is that boys are more physically aggressive than girls. The finding and results can be traced to different studies conducted under other conditions. Additionally, meta-analysis has confirmed that boys use more physical aggression than girls during preschool, early, and middle childhood (Shamsa, 2014). Moreover, this gender difference is distinct across diverse socioeconomic groups and cultures. For instance, Archer’s meta-analysis has found that boys were more physically aggressive than girls based on a myriad of reasons, such as in a multitude of cultures such as in the United States, India, China, Singapore, Slovenia, and Spain (Coyne et al., 2010). Moreover, regarding gender differences in aggression, boys are likely to be more aggressive than that girls for many reasons, which include biological and size differences, among others.

Additionally, boys are socially different than girls as far as aggressive behavior is concerned. Ideally, the research affirms that the use of physical aggression in girls is physically discouraged by parents, guardians, teachers, and their peers, among other stakeholders who interact with the children. Nevertheless, an attack by boys is not highly likely to be endorsed by those in authority, especially if the attack is mild (Pouw et al., 2013). Most boys are socialized to be rough as compared to girls, and in some cultures, boys are taught and advised that physical aggression is acceptable

Understandably, aggression moves in one direction; as a matter of fact, it creates more attacks. Significant adjustment problems such as internalizing difficulties, which include depression, anxiety, loneliness, and low self-esteem, are childhood aggression’s critical


Consequences. Based on the analysis and findings, victimized children are highly likely to be rejected by peers and lack friends (Coyne et al., 2010). Moreover, most of such problems and difficulties endure well in adulthood, mainly because physical victimization is mostly stable, with the same children experiencing abuse over several years. Additionally, this stability can be associated with a common effect in the victimized children’s co-opting behaviors and lack of peer acceptance which tends to provoke more victimization, which leads to further degeneration in children’s emotional health and peer acceptance in society (Fikkers et al., 2013).

Nevertheless, existing studies have shown the widespread problems of those who persistently face such victimization, which include peer rejection and susceptibility to internalizing symptoms. Such symptoms may include loneliness, social anxiety problems, depression, withdrawn behaviors, and somatic complaints.










Coyne, S. M., Nelson, D. A., & Underwood, M. (2010). Aggression in children. Cuellar, A. (2015). Preventing and treating child mental health problems. The Future of Children, 111-134.

Fikkers, K., Piotrowski, J., Weeda, W., Vossen, H., & Valkenburg, P. (2013). double dose: High Family Conflict Enhances the Effect of Media Violence Exposure on

Kanne, S. M., & Mazurek, M. O. (2011). Aggression in children and adolescents with ASD: Prevalence and risk factors. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 41(7), 926- 937.

Lochman, J. E., Powell, N. R., Whidby, J. M., & FitzGerald, D. P. (2012). Aggression in children.

Pouw, L., Rieffe, C., Oosterveld, P., Huskens, B., & Stockmann, L. (2013). Reactive/proactive aggression and affective/cognitive empathy in children with ASD. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 34(4), 1256-1266. Retrieved from: Shamsa, A. (2014). Aggression in Children – Causes, Behavioral Manifestations, and Management. Journal of Pakistan Medical Students

Siever, L. J. (2008). Neurobiology of aggression and violence. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 165. 429-442. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2008.07111774. Retrieved from

Stuart, G.W. (2009). Principles and practice of psychiatric nursing (9th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby.

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