Hostile Attributional Bias, Early Abuse, and Social Desirability in Reporting Hostile Attributions Among Chinese Immigrant Batterers and Nonviolent Men by ProQuest

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									Violence and Victims, Volume 23, Number 6, 2008




           Hostile Attributional Bias,
      Early Abuse, and Social Desirability
       in Reporting Hostile Attributions
          Among Chinese Immigrant
         Batterers and Nonviolent Men
                                    Xiaochun Jin, PhD
                     The New School of Social Research, New York, NY

                                    Morris Eagle, PhD
                             Adelphi University, Garden City, NY

                                   Jane E. Keat, DPhil
                     The New School of Social Research, New York, NY

     This study examined differences in reporting hostile attributional bias (HAB) between
     court-referred Chinese immigrant batterers and a nonviolent community sample. It mea-
     sured social desirability (SD) in their reporting of HAB by including an SD measure and
     a covert indirect measure of HAB. Further, it explored the relationship between HAB
     and childhood exposure to violence. The batterers scored lower on the overt measure but
     higher on the covert measure of HAB. Their scores on the overt measure were negatively
     correlated with their SD scores. Childhood exposure to violence was positively correlated
     with HAB among the batterers but not among the nonviolent men. The role of HAB in
     intimate partner violence needs more research, and future studies and batterer interven-
     tions need to consider SD in assessing and addressing HAB.


Keywords: hostile attributional bias; early abuse; social desirability; intimate partner
violence; Chinese immigrant male batterers




H
         ostile attributional bias (HAB) refers to a person’s tendency to interpret another’s
         actions as having hostile intent when those actions are ambiguous. This concept
         is most closely identified with Dodge’s social information processing theory
(Crick & Dodge, 1994; Dodge, Pettit, McClaskey, & Brown, 1986). Through his and his
colleagues’ work with socially maladjusted children, Dodge formulated a cyclical model
of social information processing in which children encode internal and external cues, inter-
pret those cues, clarify their goals, access or construct a response, decide on that response,
and enact behavior. Problems in any one of these steps, particularly HAB at the interpreta-
tion stage, can lead to deviant, aggressive behavior.


© 2008 Springer Publishing Company                                                               773
DOI: 10.1891/0886-6708.23.6.773
774                                                                                  Jin et al.

    Extensive research has shown that HAB plays a role in the externalizing behaviors
of aggressive children and teenagers. Aggressive children are significantly more likely
to show HAB than nonaggressive children (Burks, Laird, Dodge, Pettit, & Bates, 1999;
Dodge, 1980; Dodge, Price, Bachorowski, & Newman, 1990; Milich & Dodge, 1984;
Steinberg & Dodge, 1983). Some research suggests a role for HAB in adult violent behav-
ior as well. Epps and Kendall (1995) found that undergraduates who made higher attribu-
tions of hostile intent scored higher on self-reported anger/aggression measures. Research
on prison populations has found that the presence of HAB correlates to the number of vio-
lent acts male offenders have committed (James & Seager, 2006) and seems to be related
to psychopathy in male offenders (Serin, 1991). Hostile
								
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