Winning at all costs: The etiology of hypercompetitiveness through the indirect influences of parental bonds on anger and verbal/physical aggression

Julie A. Patock-Peckham, Ashley M. Ebbert, Jessica Woo, Hannah Finch, Matthew L. Broussard, Emilio Ulloa, Jennifer Filson Moses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Hypercompetitiveness reflects the need to compete and win at all costs as a means of maintaining or enhancing one's own self-worth (Horney, 1937; Ryckman, Hammer, Kaczor, & Gold, 1990). This need to win at any cost is linked to expressions of verbal and physical aggression, which may take a toll on important relationships (Hibbard & Buhrmester, 2010). We sought to explore whether parental bonds with mothers and fathers (i.e., care, rejection, autonomy, and overprotection) were indirectly linked to aggression via the mediating mechanisms of hypercompetitiveness and feelings of anger. A sample of 581 university students (316 females; 265 males) were used to examine a multiple-group structural equation model. Tests of structural invariance revealed clear moderation by gender. For instance, the pathway from verbal to physical aggression was stronger for males compared to females. For females only, higher levels of father care were indirectly linked to fewer acts of physical aggression. For both genders, higher levels of mother overprotection were indirectly linked to more acts of physical aggression through increased hypercompetitiveness and, in turn, more feelings of anger. Findings regarding maternal overprotection are consistent with both Evolutionary and Social Learning theories of behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109711
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume154
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Evolutionary theory
  • Overprotection
  • Parental bonds
  • Social learning theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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