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Abstract

This study aims at examining gender differences and their association with implicit and explicit self-esteem (SE), and reactive and proactive aggression in adolescents. Hundred and eighteen adolescents (60 boys and 58 girls) performed the Implicit Association Test assessing implicit SE. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale was used to measure explicit SE. Reactive and proactive aggression were assessed with the self-report Reactive and Proactive Aggression Scale. Results showed that girls characterized by both low explicit and implicit SE (insecure SE), or by high explicit but low implicit SE (defensive SE), showed more reactive aggression than girls reporting high explicit and implicit SE (secure SE) or low explicit but high implicit SE (anxious SE). In contrast, none of these SE types were associated to reactive aggression in boys. Finally, no significant association was found between the different types of SE and proactive aggression, for both genders.

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