Aggressive Behavior: Definition, Types & Signs Video

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  • 0:01 What Is Aggressive Behavior?
  • 1:35 Types of Aggressive Behaviors
  • 2:50 Signs & Conditions
  • 3:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Aggressive behaviors are those that are hostile and violate other people's rights. Learn about reactive and proactive aggressive behaviors, the mental disorders associated with aggressive behavior, and more, in this lesson.

What is Aggressive Behavior?

Sarah and Misha are two friends playing in the backyard. Sarah reaches over and grabs one of Misha's toys without asking, which upsets Misha. This is not the first time that Sarah has taken one of Misha's toys without permission, which angers Misha even more. Misha walks up to Sarah, pushes Sarah, and takes back her toy. By pushing Sarah, Misha has demonstrated one type of aggressive behavior.

Aggressive behavior is a type of behavior where people attempt to stand up for themselves or exert power over others in ways that are hostile and violate the rights of others. People who are on the receiving end of aggressive behavior, such as Sarah, usually feel dominated, embarrassed, guilty, or shamed as a result of a situation. Aggressive behaviors differ from passive aggressive behaviors, which seek to disguise feelings of anger in that they:

  • Are usually intentional and meant to harm someone, either psychologically or physically, or destroy someone's belongings
  • Can be directed toward another person or the self, such as a teenager who likes to injure herself by cutting her wrists
  • Are a major violation of the norms or rules of a particular society
  • Can cause major impairments to academic, social, or workplace life

For example, can you imagine working with a co-worker who liked to break other people's property every time he or she became upset or stressed? Or, being friends with someone who attempts to control you with physical violence or threats?

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