Purpose: To clarify the relevance of emotion dysregulation and dissociation for aggressive tendencies, the present study examined bivariate, unique, mediating, and moderating effects of each on physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger, and hostility.Methods: Self-report measures of the key constructs were administered to a sample of male adult violent offenders (N = 389) and a sample of male adult community participants (N = 324), and analyzed with correlation and multiple regression analyses.Results: The pattern of bivariate correlations was substantially similar for emotion dysregulation and dissociation. Both exerted unique and indirect effects (through one another) on physical aggression, anger, and hostility in both samples, with varying effect sizes. The only significant interaction was reported in the offender sample, with dissociation buffering the emotion dysregulation-hostility link. In multivariate models, verbal aggression was predicted only by dissociation and only in the community sample. Conclusions: Emotion dysregulation and dissociation have unique relevance for understanding, and potentially treating, aggression beyond and through their reciprocal overlap, with the exception of verbal aggression for which the evidence was sample-dependent and less compelling. While both had comparable relevance for physical aggression, emotion dysregulation seemed more relevant for anger, and their relative relevance for hostility varied across samples.
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