Measuring aggressiveness and anger, but not aggression? A response to the CAAS critique

J. P. Maxwell, Elisabeth Moores

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The Competitive Aggressiveness and Anger Scale (CAAS) was developed to measure antecedents of aggression in sport. The critique attacks the CAAS on three points: (1) the definition of aggression in sport adopted, (2) the‘‘one size fits all’’ element in the thinking behind the scale’s development, (3) the nature of the CAAS Anger and Aggressiveness items. The objectives of this response is to address misunderstandings in the critique. Methods: We identified a number of false assumptions that undermine the validity of the critique and attempt to clarify our position with respect to the criticisms made. Results: (1) The CAAS is being criticised for a definition that it did not use. (2) We accepted that the CAAS may not be suitable for everyone in our limitations section and fully accept the limitations of any scale. We have since undertaken a large research project to establish whether the scale is valid across and within specific sports. (3) The fundamental misunderstanding inherent throughout the critique is that the CAAS was designed as a measure of aggression, rather than anger and aggressiveness, rendering the critique of its items redundant. Conclusions: The critique misrepresents the authors of the CAAS and fails to present a coherent argument against its use. We hope to clarify our position here. The evidence to date suggests that the CAAS is a valid measure of anger and aggressiveness in many sports and that these concepts reliably differentiate players who admit unsanctioned aggression from those who do not.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-733
Number of pages5
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


  • CAAS
  • aggression
  • anger


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