The dimensionality of the verbal aggressiveness scale

Timothy R. Levine, Michael J. Beatty, Sean Limon, Mark A. Hamilton, Ross Buck, Rebecca M. Chory-Assad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Infante and Wigley's (1986) Verbal Aggressiveness Scale (VAS) is a widely accepted and frequently used measure of trait verbal aggression. Although the scale is almost always scored as if it were unidimensional, previous factor analytic studies provide evidence that it is multidimensional with two distinct factors. The present studies (N= 194 and 177) used confirmatory factor analysis to replicate the two-factor solution. The two-factor model was consistent with the data, and provides a better fit to the data than the unidimensional solution. The first factor, comprised of all aggressively worded, nonreflected items, appears to measure verbal aggressiveness as intended whereas the second factor, comprised of all reverse-scored items (benevolently worded), appears to measure a communication style related to other-esteem confirmation and supportiveness. Given this interpretation, it is recommended that only the 10 aggressively worded items be scored. Hamilton, Buck, and Chory-Assad, in an adversarial collaborative discussion, agree that the VAS is bidimensional, but offer an alternative conceptual model. They hold that the two factors reflect selfish individualism and prosocial cooperation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-268
Number of pages24
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Measurement validation
  • Verbal aggressiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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