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This study investigated the associations of narrative processing while recounting a past victimization experience with different forms (i.e., physical and relational) and functions (i.e., reactive vs proactive) of aggressive behavior. Moderating effects of respiratory sinus arrhythmia reactivity and gender were explored. Two hundred college students participated in a semi-structured laboratory interview about a past victimization event, during which their respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) and narrative processing (i.e., perpetrator hostility evaluation, narrative coherence, and positive resolution) were assessed. Participants reported their tendency to engage in aggressive behaviors. Findings indicated that low narrative coherence and high perpetrator hostility evaluation, respectively, in combination with RSA activation, were associated with reactive physical aggression in men but not in women. Perpetrator hostility evaluation was also associated with reactive relational aggression for both men and women. Findings shed critical light on the joint influences of narrative processing, physiological reactivity, and gender in subtypes of aggressive behavior.


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