Laboratory measurement of aggression in high school age athletes: provocation in a nonsporting context

Psychol Rep. 1999 Dec;85(3 Pt 2):1251-62. doi: 10.2466/pr0.1999.85.3f.1251.


This study investigated the relationship between aggression and type of sports involvement in high school age boys. Athletes (16 boys), ages 15 to 18 years, were separated into two groups, one of 8 athletes who participated in sports with high physical contact, e.g., football and basketball, and the other of 8 athletes who participated in low contact sports, e.g., track and baseball. Students participated in six 25-min. Point Subtraction Aggression Paradigm sessions. The paradigm is an established laboratory model of aggression with three response options: (1) a point-maintained response, (2) an aggressive response, and (3) an escape response. Analysis indicated that the only difference between the groups was that individuals who participated in high contact sports emitted significantly more aggressive responses than individuals who participated in low contact sports. Similarly, psychometric measures of aggression indicated that individuals in the former group self-reported more behavioral incidents of aggression than those in the latter group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Social Environment*
  • Sports / psychology*