Characterizing aggressive behavior

Matthew S. Stanford, Rebecca J. Houston, Charles W. Mathias, Nicole R. Villemarette-Pittman, Laura E. Helfritz, Sarah M. Conklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

210 Scopus citations


In the research literature, aggressive behavior has traditionally been classified into two distinct subtypes, impulsive or premeditated. Impulsive aggression is defined as a hair-trigger aggressive response to provocation with loss of behavioral control. Premeditated aggression is defined as a planned or conscious aggressive act, not spontaneous or related to an agitated state. The present study outlines the development of a clinically useful self-report instrument, the Impulsive/Premeditated Aggression Scales (IPAS), designed to characterize aggressive behavior as predominately impulsive or predominately premeditated in nature. The IPAS showed strong reliability and validity. Analysis of the IPAS scores demonstrated the presence of two types of aggressive behavior, impulsive and premeditated, in men referred for anger problems. The aggression of most individuals in the present sample was characterized as predominately impulsive in nature (90%).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-190
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggression
  • Assessment
  • Impulsivity
  • Personality
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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