The myth of the alpha male: A new look at dominance-related beliefs and behaviors among adolescent males and females

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations

Abstract

Evolutionary and biological approaches tend to suggest that social dominance is predominately an aspect of male social organization. Furthermore, when females behave non-normatively, they are less positively evaluated than males engaging in the same behavior. Alternate, less familiar models of females and dominance/aggression underlie the present study which proposes that dominant males and females are more similar in both behavioral profile and social reception than commonly believed. Participants (N = 1723; grades 5-10) self-rated their aggression, social motivations, and strategies and beliefs associated with interpersonal influence. Peer ratings of strategies of influence, aggression, and the degree to which peers were liked and disliked were also obtained. Results demonstrated that socially dominant males and females balance prosocial and coercive strategies and win positive peer regard, their aggressiveness notwithstanding. These findings highlight competitiveness in females and provide insights into the paradoxical relationship between positive peer regard and aggression (the peer regard-aggression paradox).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-88
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Gender
  • Peer relations
  • Social dominance

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The myth of the alpha male: A new look at dominance-related beliefs and behaviors among adolescent males and females'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this