Lambert, M.S., NCC, LPC
University of North Carolina - Greensboro
I. General Information
Title: The Aggression
H. Buss and W. L. Warren.
Psychological Services, 12031 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
90025. Phone: 1-800-648-8857.
to which applicable: The Aggression Questionnaire (Buss & Warren,
2000) is intended to be administered as a screening instrument for
aggressiveness. The AQ has a third grade reading level and can be
used with both children and adults.
The AQ measures clients' propensity for aggressive behaviors and ability
to restrain from employing destructive aggression.
Date of publication:
The AQ was published in 2000. The AQ is a revised version of the Buss-Durkee
Hostility Inventory (BDHI; Buss & Durkee, 1957).
Both a paper-and-pencil form and computer form of the AQ are available
for purchase. The AQ can be manually scored quickly using the autoscore
answer form. If administered using the AQ disk, the instrument can
be administered, scored, and interpreted on-line. With this option,
a comprehensive interpretive report is provided instantaneously. Microsoft
Windows is required to operate the computer-based version of the AQ.
Cost: The AQ
Kit (including 25 autoscore answer forms, a manual, 2-use disk, and
2 pads of 100 answer sheets to be used with the computer disk) costs
$82.50. Autoscore answer forms are priced at $29.95 for the one package
of 25, with the price decreasing to $27.00 for multiple packages ordered.
The AQ manual can be purchased separately for $42.50. The AQ disk
costs $155.00 and can be used for 25 administrations and interpretation
profiles. The price decreases to $142.50 when 2 or more disks are
acquired. The PC Answer sheet pad can also be purchased separately
for $15.00 and is used when the test-administrator does not want the
test-taker to complete the instrument on a computer or if a computer
is not available at the time of testing.
to administer: The AQ takes 10 minutes to administer.
Purpose and Nature of the Instrument
The 34-item AQ measures a respondent's self-perceived levels of aggression
and anger. The instrument provides a measure of treatment need or
treatment outcome. The AQ can be used in clinical, school, business,
military, correctional, and hospital settings for individual treatment
planning and program evaluation.
test, items, and scores: The 34-item AQ consists of five scales: physical
aggression (physical expression of anger), verbal aggression (argumentative
and hostile language), anger (agitation and sense of control), hostility
(resentment, social isolation, and paranoia), and indirect aggression
(expression of anger without direct confrontation). Also, the instrument
provides an overall score and an Inconsistent Responding scale. There
are 12 pairs of items on the Inconsistent Responding scale. Participant
responses are discarded when five or more pairs differ by more than
one point. Items are answered on a five-point Likert-type scale ranging
from 1 (Not at all like me) to 5 (Completely like me). Thus, scores
can range from 34 to 170, with higher scores indicating more self-reported
Use in counseling:
Counselors using the AQ can examine general client level of aggressive
tendencies and specific dimensions of aggression using the five subscales.
The instrument is not designed to be the sole source for treatment
planning or deciding whether or not to offer services. Used in conjunction
with clinical interview skills, the AQ does provide a means of assessing
difficulty areas for aggressive clients and monitoring progress of
treatment. The AQ is most effectively used as a screening instrument
to assist aggressive individuals in obtaining appropriate intervention.
manual: The 85-page manual offers guidance on administration, scoring,
and interpretation of the AQ. The second part of the manual provides
information regarding the development and standardization of the instrument
as well as the psychometric properties including reliability and validity.
Case examples are provided to facilitate test interpretation. In addition,
a 15-item AQ Short Form is provided for researchers.
Adequacy of directions
for administering the instrument: The instructions are explicit, and
an example is included for further simplification.
of examiners: Counselors who administer the AQ need to be qualified
at the B level. Thus, counselors should have a graduate degree that
includes successful completion of a psychological testing and measurement
course from an accredited university or college.
The AQ can be scored on-site manually using an autoscore form or electronically
The normative sample for the AQ consisted of 2,138 individuals from
throughout the United States. The sample was divided into three age
groups: 9 to 18, 19 to 39, and 40 to 88. Children and adults were
tested in nonclinical settings including schools, churches, and community
centers. Of the individuals sampled, 1,252 were women and 880 were
men (Buss & Warren, 2000). Racial background of participants included
Asian (1%), Black (15%), Hispanic (8%), Native American (<1%),
White (72%), and Other (3%). Individuals from the South and adults
with a high school education or less were slightly underrepresented.
Previous reports of reliability (coefficient alpha) suggest good to
moderate reliability: Physical Aggression (r = .88), Verbal Aggression
(r = .76), Anger (r = .78), Hostility (r = .82), Indirect Aggression
(r = .71), and the Total scale (r = .94) (Buss & Warren, 2000).
provide evidence of construct validity, researchers have correlated
scores on the AQ with scores of other instruments purported to measure
a similar construct. For young people ages 9-19, scores on the AQ
have been correlated with scores on the Attitudes Toward Guns and
Violence Questionnaire (AGVQ; Shapiro, 2000) with a correlation coefficient
of .38. The physical aggression scale on the AQ was most strongly
associated with all scales of the AGVQ. Thus, those individuals with
high AQ scores are also likely to possess favorable attitudes toward
aggression and ownership of guns. The Children’s Inventory of Anger
(ChIA; Nelson & Finch, 2000) scores had a correlation coefficient
of .37 with the AQ for children ages 11-17. There was a positive correlation
between those who had high scores on the anger and hostility scales
of the AQ and those who had high scores on the ChIA in all challenge
areas measured by the latter, including difficulty with peer and authority
relationships, with being a victim of bullying, and with problem-solving
behaviors. For those ages 9-84, the Novaco Anger Scale (NAS; Novaco,
in press) and the Provocation Inventory (PI; Novaco, in press) have
correlation coefficients with the AQ of .74, and .59, respectively.
The angry cognition scale on the NAS is most similar to the AQ hostility
scale. The anger scale on the AQ was most correlated to the NAS arousal
scale and most negatively correlated with the NAS anger regulation
scale. In addition the AQ physical aggression scale was highly correlated
to the NAS Angry Behavior. In terms of the PI, the AQ hostility scale
was the most correlated of the AQ scores with all of the PI scales.
Comments of reviewers:
Due to the AQ's recent publication, no published comments were available.
The AQ can provide valuable information regarding aggressive tendencies
and strategies used in mediating aggressive inclinations. The AQ is
easy to administer, score, and interpret. In addition, the instrument
can be administered in a very short amount of time, facilitating the
use of it in both clinical practice and research. The instructions
and items are written clearly. The AQ is ideal to use as a screening
instrument with young people for the prevention and treatment of aggressive
behaviors. However, there are a few verbal expressions in the questionnaire
that may be difficult for some young children to understand (i.e.,
"get the breaks" or "hothead"). The manual provides
detailed information in a user-friendly manner. Psychometric properties
for the AQ are strong. While the AQ is based on a former instrument,
the Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory (BDHI; Buss & Durkee, 1957),
there is no theoretical basis for the AQ reported in the manual.
this instrument has many practical implementations and should be further
considered by counselors and researchers interested in aggressive
behavior. Caution, however, should be taken in categorizing individuals
as violent and nonviolent, especially in correctional institutions.
Because the AQ is a self-report measure, those individuals who have
something to gain by responding in a certain manner may not provide
accurate responses. Another limitation is in regards to generalizability.
Evidence suggests that the problem communication subscale of the PAC
may not be equivalent for English-speaking Hispanic populations (Knight,
Tein, Shell, & Roosa, 1992). In addition, Asians and Native Americans
are not adequately represented in the standardization sample to interpret
results for individuals of these ethnic backgrounds. Thus, further
studies need to take place with more diversified samples.
A. H., & Durkee, A. (1957). An inventory for assessing different kinds
of hostility. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21, 343-349.
A. H., & Warren, W. L. (2000). Aggression Questionnaire: Manual. Los
Angeles: Western Psychological Services.
G. P., Tein, J. Y., Shell, R., & Roosa, M. (1992). The cross-ethnic
equivalence of parenting and family interaction measures among Hispanic
and Anglo-American families. Child Development, 63, 1392-1403.
M., & Finch, A. (2000). Children’s Inventory of Anger (ChIA): Manual.
Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.
R. M. (in press). Novaco Anger Scale and Provocation Inventory: Manual.
Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.
J. P. (2000). Attitudes Toward Guns and Violence Questionnaire (AGVQ):
Manual. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.