Aggressive and violent behavior may be rated according to the scale described by Delgado-Escueta et al. The scale was developed at an International Workshop on Aggression and Epilepsy held at Bethesda, Maryland in 1980.


Terms used: aggression and violence are not synonymous but may overlap:

(1) Aggression: physical action that may or may not be directed against a target

(2) Violence: aggressive act directed against a target

Type of Aggression



nondirected aggressive motion

kicking, flailing, boxing, hitting or other acts not directed to a person or object


violence to property

physical force that destroys an inanimate object


threatening violence to a person

includes gestures, shouting and spitting


mild violence to a person

force against a person without inflicting physical harm, such as pushing or shoving


moderate violence to a person

physical force that substantially harms another person, such as hitting with the fist or scratching


severe violence to a person

physical force damaging or seriously endangering the life of a person, or actual killing of a person


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• Aggression to an animal is not included in the rating hierarchy. It probably should be rated more than aggression to inanimate objects but rated slightly less than the same degree directed against a person (although some would think that the rating should be the same).

• I am not sure if a very destructive act against property should be rated the same as a minor action.

• I am not sure if obscene gestures fit into the scale (? rating 0).


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