The papers in this special issue argue that aggression is not always bad, that some forms of aggression have some positive correlates. How can we reconcile these claims and these results with a large body of previous data showing that physical aggression is related to maladjustment? This commentary will consider four issues in relation to these four investigations. First, how exactly is aggression defined, both conceptually and operationally? Second, for whom might aggressive behavior have a bright side? How does aggression relate to adjustment differently for girls and for boys, and for children from different ethnic and socioeconomic groups? Third, do specific forms of aggressive behavior relate to truly positive correlates, and might these relations depend on the developmental period in question? Last and perhaps most importantly, what specific social processes might account for when aggressive behavior is and is not maladaptive?
Underwood, Marion K.
"The Comity of Modest Manipulation,
the Importance of Distinguishing
Among Bad Behaviors,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 49
, Article 7.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol49/iss3/7