Conceptualizing and testing an interaction-based unit of analysis for the study of conflict escalation

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This study describes and analyzes the dimensions of the escalation process and tests the feasibility of the suggested unit of analysis. To this end, the structure of escalation prescription and its intensity are explored as representing attitudinal guidelines concerning desirable ways to react to various provocations. Participants consisted of 799 Jewish students from 11 junior high schools who were involved in at least one conflict during the four weeks prior to the study. A new instrument to measure escalation prescription was devised. Multidimensional scaling was used to explore the construct. As expected, three constraints determined the configuration of the variables: (a) the distinction between the types of provocations; (b) the distinction between the types of reactions to these provocations; and (c) the distinction between proportional and disproportional reactions. Underlying these constraints were the discrepancies between provocation and reaction that delineate the concept of escalation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Issue number2
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2006


  • Conflict
  • Escalation
  • Interaction
  • Physical aggression
  • Unit of analysis
  • Verbal aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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