Difference Between Hostile and Instrumental Aggression

Key Difference – Hostile vs Instrumental Aggression
 

 

Hostile and Instrumental aggression are two forms of aggression between which a key difference can be identified. Before comprehending the meaning of these two forms first let us focus on aggression. Aggression refers to violent behavior or thoughts towards others. When we say that someone responded aggressively, this highlights that the manner in which the person behaved or responded was violent. With this basic understanding let us turn to the key difference between hostile and instrumental aggression. The key difference between hostile and instrumental aggression lies in its goal. In hostile aggression, the goal is to cause harm or injury to another. In instrumental aggression, the goal is to achieve something. This is the main difference. Through this article let us examine these two concepts further.

What is Hostile Aggression?

Hostile aggression refers to a form of aggression in which the individual reacts violently to a situation. This can be to a threat made by another or even an insult. Social psychologists believe that hostile aggression is usually an impulsive reaction rather than a planned activity. It is driven by emotion.

An individual who is threatened by another or hurt by another person reacts aggressively in order to hurt or cause pain to the other person. Here the sole intention is to cause pain and suffering. There is no ulterior motive. Studies have shown that men tend to use hostile aggression more than women.

For instance, imagine a teenager who gets into fights the moment he is insulted by another. This teenager is employing hostile aggression as his reaction is driven by emotion.

Difference Between Hostile and Instrumental Aggression

What is Instrumental Aggression?

Instrumental aggression is another form of aggression in which the individual intentionally acts in an aggressive manner in order to achieve a particular goal. Unlike in the case of hostile aggression the individual is not driven by emotion but by the need to achieve a particular goal.

For an example, imagine a kid who bullies others to get their money. In this case, the kid acts in a particular manner intentionally to achieve the goal of collecting money. Social psychologists highlight that women tend to use instrumental aggression more than men in daily life.

Key Difference - Hostile vs Instrumental Aggression

What is the difference between Hostile and Instrumental Aggression?

Definitions of Hostile and Instrumental Aggression:

Hostile Aggression: Hostile aggression refers to a form of aggression in which the individual reacts violently to a situation.

Instrumental Aggression: Instrumental aggression is a form of aggression in which the individual intentionally acts in an aggressive manner in order to achieve a particular goal.

Characteristics of Hostile and Instrumental Aggression:

Goal:

Hostile Aggression: In hostile aggression, the goal is to cause harm or injury to another.

Instrumental Aggression: In instrumental aggression the goal is to achieve something.

Plan:

Hostile Aggression: Hostile aggression is impulsive and not planned.

Instrumental Aggression: Instrumental aggression is usually planned.

Gender:

Hostile Aggression: Hostile aggression is mostly used by men.

Instrumental Aggression: Instrumental aggression is mostly used by women.

Emotion:

Hostile Aggression: The individual is driven by emotion.

Instrumental Aggression: The individual is not driven by emotion but by a goal.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Francisco de Goya y Lucientes – Duelo a garrotazos” by Francisco Goya – [1]. [Public Domain] via Commons

2. ChamberlaineandPaugusAtLovewellsFightEngraving from John Gilmary Shea A Child’s History of the United StatesHess and McDavitt 1872 [Public Domain] via Commons