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What Are The Types Of Aggression?

Is Aggression A Mental Disorder?

What are the types of aggression? We look at the types of aggression and how aggressive behaviour can manifest itself.

Understanding Aggressive Behavior

You will frequently encounter “aggression and violence” as a single, inseparable word. True, aggression and violence frequently coexist, but they are two distinct concepts.

Violence refers to intense physical aggression with the intention of causing severe harm. In other words, aggression is not always accompanied by violence, but violence is always accompanied by aggression.

What are the types of aggression?
What are the types of aggression?

Recognizing the manifestations of aggression in your life will help you confront it, along with anger and any other emotions that may be involved.

Below, we discuss the various forms and potential reasons of aggression, as well as when to seek assistance.

What are the various types of aggression?

Daily, a great number of us experience aggression. Sometimes we are the ones receiving it, and sometimes we are the ones releasing it.

Aggression must be avoided regardless if we wish to live a good and fulfilled life. Unfortunately, the majority of people will not receive the assistance they require, and some may see their problems deteriorate over time. Understanding how to recognize aggression, how to respond to aggression, and how to overcome aggression are key life skills.

Although the majority of us agree that aggressive behavior is unacceptable, it is difficult to define “aggression” because it can be perceived in so many different ways.

You may ask a psychologist, a teacher, your friends, or Google, “What does aggression mean?” and receive varying responses from each source.

The 4 Main Types Of Aggression

When most of us consider aggression, the first thing that comes to mind is behavior that results in bodily injury to oneself or others.

While that is a significant piece of the definition of aggression, it does not provide the complete definition and disregards a considerable chunk of aggressive behavior as non-aggressive.

Therefore, we use the term “aggression” as a catch-all term to represent the various forms of aggression we encounter daily. When defining “aggression,” we first divide it into the four basic categories of aggression: physical, mental, emotional, and verbal.

Let’s examine each of the 4 main types of aggression in greater detail.

1. Physical aggression

Aggressive behavior that causes physical harm to oneself or others, including hitting, biting, weapon use, and kicking.

2. Mental Aggression

Aggressive behavior exhibited with the goal to cause mental injury, such as anxiety, stress, or depression.

3. Aggression based on Emotion

Aggressive behavior that emotionally damages someone and makes it difficult for them to express themselves.

4. Verbal Aggression

Aggressive language used by one individual to make another feel less comfortable in their own skin.

In the majority of situations of aggressive conduct, one kind of aggression leads to another. Because of this, victims of aggressive conduct face a variety of health and wellbeing issues, which only worsen over time.

Once you have identified the primary type of aggression you are experiencing, you can classify it into one of the four secondary types: unintentional aggression, expressive aggression, hostile aggression, and instrumental aggression.

What are secondary types of aggression?

Accidental Aggression

Although aggression typically refers to action that is unwanted or unwarranted, this does not always imply that aggression is intentional.

In reality, there are a range of hostile situations in which the individual does not intend physical, mental, emotional, or verbal harm.

This is referred regarded as inadvertent aggression, which is aggression that is more or less the result of carelessness, laziness, or simply not paying attention to what is going on around you.

Therefore, it is referred to as accidental aggression. Since unintentional aggression occurs more frequently than you might believe, it is essential to consider every angle and perspective. What may appear like aggression to one individual may be an accident to another.

Expressive Aggression

With accidental aggression, there is no purpose to harm the victim, and neither satisfaction nor enjoyment is derived from the act.

Expressive aggression is a little different. While there is no purpose to injure others, there is a sense of pleasure in the act that piques our interest.

Keep in mind that this pleasure is not derived from injuring others. Instead, the pleasure we derive from the activity overshadows the effect it may have on others, leading us to frequently dismiss their feelings entirely.

A good example of expressive aggression is with youngsters. They are inquisitive, enjoy playing, and are constantly experimenting with and discovering new things. However, they do not always make the greatest decisions and are not always aware of how others interpret their acts.

Hostile Aggression

Up to this point, we’ve addressed a sort of aggression is 100% inadvertent and done on purpose but not with the idea of hurting anyone.

When it comes to hostile aggression, however, it is both intentional and intended to cause harm, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or verbally.

Today, the majority of instances of aggressive aggression are also categorized as bullying, which is an enormous problem in the globe that is only getting worse as the Internet and social media continue to spread.

Whereas accidental aggression necessitates a response and expressive aggression necessitates a mental shift, hostile aggression must cease without ifs, ands, or buts.

Instrumental Aggression

The third sort of aggression we’re going to cover instrumental aggression. This sort of aggression is comparable to expressive aggression because it is not necessarily motivated by malice or the goal to harm others.

At the same time, there’s an overlaying problem that must be dealt with. Instrumental aggression is aggressive behavior while battling over a specific object or concept, yet someone is injured as a result. As you may expect, these circumstances are not intended to escalate, but they do so on occasion.

Instrumental aggression in children is typically the consequence of two youngsters battling over a toy, blanket, food, or anything else they desire at the time. It’s not that they intend to cause harm, but their obsessional demand for that item outweighs all other considerations.


We hope this article was able to answer your questions about: What are the types of aggression?

If you want to discover more information about managing aggressive behaviour, follow the link to our other pages on this topic.