relational aggression, proactive and reactive aggression, Intermittent Explosive Disorder


The psychometric properties of a recently introduced adult self-report of relational aggression are presented. Specifically, the predictive utility of proactive and reactive peer-directed relational aggression, as well as romantic relational aggression, are explored in a large (N = 1387) study of adults. The measure had adequate reliability and validity and the subscales demonstrated unique predictive abilities for a number of dependent variables. In particular, reactive but not proactive relational aggression was uniquely associated with history of abuse, hostile attribution biases, and feelings of distress regarding relational provocation situations. Reactive relational aggression was also more strongly related to anger and hostility than proactive aggression. In addition, relational aggression in the context of romantic relationships was uniquely related to anger, hostility, impulsivity, history of abuse, hostile attribution biases, and emotional sensitivity to relational provocations, even when controlling for peer-directed relational aggression. Gender differences in overall levels of relational aggression were not observed; however, males were most likely to engage in peer-directed proactive and reactive relational aggression whereas females were most likely to engage in romantic relational aggression. In a second study (N = 150), relational aggression was higher in a sample of adults with Intermittent Explosive Disorder than in a sample of healthy controls or psychiatric controls. The findings highlight the importance of assessing subtypes of relational aggression in adult samples. Ways in which this measure may extend research in psychology and psychiatry are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Murray-Close, D., Ostrov, J. M., Nelson, D. A., Crick, N. R., & Coccaro, E. F. (2010). Proactive, reactive, and romantic relational aggression in adulthood: Measurement, predictive validity, gender differences, and association with intermittent explosive disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 44, 393-404.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Psychiatric Research




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor