An important focus of recent aggression research has been to identify personality variables that influence the expression of aggression. One such variable may be anxiety sensitivity (AS). Individuals high in AS fear unpleasant anxiety-related physiological sensations and perhaps physiological arousal in general. Accordingly, people high in AS are motivated to avoid situations that produce these sensations. With respect to aggressive encounters, an intense attack by an opponent involves significant physiological arousal. High anxiety-sensitive individuals may therefore attempt to decrease the intensity of the interaction by responding in a non-aggressive or conciliatory manner. To test this possibility, 112 community volunteers completed a measure of AS and a well-validated laboratory task designed to assess aggressive behavior. As predicted, an inverse relation between AS and extreme aggressive responding was found. Specifically, as AS increases, retaliatory aggression is less likely after intense attack by an opponent.
Broman-Fulks, J. J.,
McCloskey, M. S.,
Berman, M. E.
(2007). Anxiety Sensitivity and Retaliatory Aggressive Behavior In Research Volunteers. Aggressive Behavior, 33(2), 137-144.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/2051