For example, those shot in the neck fall to their knees and then their face while clutching at their throats According to psychologists, aggression is any behavior that is meant to harm or injure others Horn, Aggression can be examined more intensely during early adolescence, when youngsters are in middle school or high school National Center for Educational Statistics, Many acts of aggression are very visible and witnessed live on TV or in front of eyewitnesses, however, there are other acts of aggression that are less visible, overlooked, and undocumented Olweus, In a study, by Raney and Kinnally researchers investigated perceived violent and enjoyment by spectators.
Participates viewed American intercollegiate football games featuring hometown teams between rival and non-rival teams. A total of participates viewed one of four televised competitions, two of which were heated rivals and two were non-rivals and subsequently the participants were interviewed following the game. There was a rise in of 21 percent of female fatal injuries at work.
In the percentage of these workplace homicides, the perpetrators were relatives — most of them being a spouse or a domestic partner. The 9 percent of male incidents that were homicides only 2 percent were relatives of the victim.
There are also the cases of the female employee being killed during a commission of a robbery. Many times the robbers were the assailants in the deaths of male workers. Among the other homicides there were stabbings, hitting, kicking, beating and acts Wann SV;SV.
Fights and violence in sports has been on the rise as of lately. Players are being much more aggressive than ever before. Sports such as these thrive off of violence and they must if they are to stay around. This violence has impacted sports from the players to the fans and has changed the way some sports are played The northerners used slavery as their excuse to conquer the South.
Hence, it should be easy to conceive why psychologists undertook the challenge of understanding aggression in youth. In this case, youths will be operationally defined to include children as well as adolescents.
Aggression in youths has been a topic of discussion many individuals, parents and psychologists, have tried to characterize and control beginning around the s 1. However, because there was a lack of empirical evidence to support lingering past theories about the origins of aggression and how it should be defined, it was difficult to identify a theory which adequately ex There is a term often referred to by Hobbes as survival machines Pinker Humans are born with the capacity for violence; it is not invented but rather, instigated We are able to connect — instantly — with people of all ages, genders, and races, all across the globe.
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow users to send images and text posts to their friends or to the public, that is, anyone on the internet who happens upon their post or cares to run a simple search for it or for the user.
This provides many incredible opportunities for artists to share and get feedback on their creations, and to make money For example in the new game Grand Theft Auto VI, a player is allowed to kill, out run cops, and steal, almost all the missions themselves are based on violence. Video games are harmful to young children because studies show that children that play more violent video games have a higher risk of being aggressive towards others. Children do not yet understand the harm of these video games.
At a young age, what children see and observe influence them There is aggression everyday and it can be seen in all different forms.
Where ever you go there will be some type of aggression. While doing research, I learned new things about psychological aggression and affects aggression has on people. Captive animals including primates may show abnormal levels of social aggression and self-harm that are related to aspects of the physical or social environment; this depends on the species and individual factors such as gender, age and background e.
This cost-benefit analysis can be looked at in terms of evolution. However, there are profound differences in the extent of acceptance of a biological or evolutionary basis for human aggression. As such, conflicts may have created selection evolutionary pressures for psychological mechanisms in men to initiate intergroup aggression.
This is most obviously the case in terms of attacking prey to obtain food, or in anti-predatory defense. It may also be the case in competition between members of the same species or subgroup, if the average reward e. There are some hypotheses of specific adaptions for violence in humans under certain circumstances, including for homicide , but it is often unclear what behaviors may have been selected for and what may have been a byproduct, as in the case of collective violence.
Game theory is used to understand how such behaviors might spread by natural selection within a population, and potentially become 'Evolutionary Stable Strategies'.
An initial model of resolution of conflicts is the hawk-dove game. Others include the Sequential assessment model and the Energetic war of attrition. These try to understand not just one-off encounters but protracted stand-offs, and mainly differ in the criteria by which an individual decides to give up rather than risk loss and harm in physical conflict such as through estimates of resource holding potential. However, the conditions under which women and men differ in aggressiveness are not well understood or studied.
Although there is much variation in species, generally the more physically aggressive sex is the male, particularly in mammals. When the female can leave the male to care for the offspring, then females may be the larger and more physically aggressive.
Competitiveness despite parental investment has also been observed in some species. The role of such factors in human evolution is controversial.
The pattern of male and female aggression is argued to be consistent with evolved sexually-selected behavioral differences,  while alternative or complimentary views emphasize conventional social roles stemming from physical evolved differences. Especially in the application of evolutionary explanations to contemporary human behavior, including differences between the genders. There was no significant difference in aggression between males and females before two years of age. They are more likely to use communication when trying to retrieve a toy with the words "Ask nicely" or "Say please.
In sports, the rate of aggression in both contact and non-contact sports is relatively equal. Since the establishment of Title IX, female sports have increased in competitiveness and importance, which could contribute to the evening of aggression and the "need to win" attitude between both genders. Among sex differences found in adult sports were that females have a higher scale of indirect hostility while men have a higher scale of assault.
Some studies suggest that romantic involvement in adolescence decreases aggression in males and females, but decreases at a higher rate in females. Females will seem more desirable to their mate if they fit in with society and females that are aggressive do not usually fit well in society, they can often be viewed as antisocial. Female aggression is not considered the norm in society and going against the norm can sometimes prevent one from getting a mate.
In many states, women now account for a quarter to a third of all domestic violence arrests, up from less than 10 percent a decade ago. The new statistics reflect a reality documented in research: women are perpetrators as well as victims of family violence. This can be the case when men have become less ashamed of reporting female violence against them, therefore an increasing number of women are arrested, although the actual number of violent women remains the same.
In addition, males in competitive sports are often advised by their coaches not to be in intimate relationships based on the premises that they become more docile and less aggressive during an athletic event. The circumstances in which males and females experience aggression are also different.
A study showed that social anxiety and stress was positively correlated with aggression in males, meaning as stress and social anxiety increases so does aggression. Furthermore, a male with higher social skills has a lower rate of aggressive behavior than a male with lower social skills.
In females, higher rates of aggression were only correlated with higher rates of stress. Damage to the individual victim includes psychological and emotional trauma, particularly in response to aggressive acts such as rape and domestic violence.
The worst consequence of aggression is lethality. In , 1 in every violent victimizations resulted in loss of life. There also are consequences for the perpetrator of aggression. Although aggression can result in positive gain for the individual, it also can result in financial loss fines imposed by courts , loss of freedom i.
After imprison-men, it can result in loss of job, divorce, and poverty, which can motivate even further aggressive criminal acts to gain resources. Causes of Aggression Behavioral and social scientists have different theories about aggression. As outlined earlier, Freudians believe that aggression, like sexuality, is an innate drive or instinct in each of us Stoff et al. Others theorize that it is not an inborn drive but a response to frustration that every human being experiences almost from birth.
Although there are several different ways in which the causes of aggression can be grouped, two broad divisions consist of social and biological explanations. Social Causes Although there are many social factors involved in aggression, two overarching theories that involve social factors external stimuli are briefly outlined. Social learning theory The basic principle underlying social learning theory is that children learn to be aggressive.
Learning is hypothesized to occur both as a result of one's own behavior enactive learning and as a result of viewing others behavior' observation learning Huesmann, An early proponent of this perspective was Bandura In an important series of experiments, Bandura demonstrated that after watching a model being aggressive to a Bobo doll, young children showed more aggressive behavior in their play.
In particular, children were observed to imitate the precise actions of the model, indicating that imitation was the principal way in which children learned to be aggressive. In addition to imitation, observational learning is another important process by which children learn to be aggressive. Some children observe their fathers resolving a dispute or solving a problem by beating their wives.
They observe that a certain behavior on the part of the model father beating the mother is followed by a reward for the model resolution of conflict or dominance. The child in turn learns to use similar behavior when confronted with a problem situation, using aggression to resolve the problem or gain control just as their father did.
Another example of learning aggressive behavior can be seen in TV violence. Through the media of television and motion pictures, and even the Internet, children as well as adults are being exposed to brutal acts of aggression at historically high rates Grana et al. The research literature on the long-term effects of media such as TV violence on aggression has demonstrated that for both boys and girls, early exposure to media violence increases the risk for later aggression behavior Huesmann et al.
Results also suggest that this relationship is exacerbated by children identifying with aggressive television characters and fantasizing about aggression. Furthermore, from a social perspective, aggression is subtyped into reactive aggression and proactive aggression, and for each subtype, a separate theory is put forward to explain the origin of the two types.
First, the frustration-aggression model Lange, ; Shinar, suggests that reactive aggression is an angry retalitory response to a perceived provocation and underlying state of frustration.
Frustration defined as the blocking or thwarting of any on-going goal-directed activity induces an aggressive drive that motivates aggressive behavior. Over time, this aggressive drive builds up. Once frustration is encountered, and given that a certain level of frustration has built up, the aggressive drive is automatically triggered and must be given expression before the drive can be reduced.
Second, as described above, social learning theory Bandura, offers a comprehensive and incisive analysis of aggression. In the context of Dodge's theory, it is argued that proactive aggression is acquired and maintained through positive reinforcement. That is, if an aggressive response by one child to another child is followed by a positive reward to the aggressor e.
Biological Causes Research is beginning to indicate that biological processes internal stimuli may serve a role in predisposing to aggression. Five specific processes are selected for brief description: 1 brain dysfunction, 2 testosterone, 3 serotonin, 4 birth complications, and 5 nutrition deficiency.
Brain dysfunction Aggressive criminals have been found to have poor brain functioning. In addition, EEG studies have shown that aggressive prisoners are more likely to show EEG abnormalities; in particular, aggressive psychopaths are more likely to show excessive slow-wave EEG Stoff et al. A third source of evidence comes from brain imaging studies.
The reason why brain dysfunction predisposes to aggression may be because the prefrontal region of the brain normally acts to control and regulate the emotional reactions generated by deeper, limbic brain structures like the amygdala. If the prefrontal region of the brain is functioning poorly, it will be less able to keep these aggressive impuses in check, resulting in an increased likelihood of impulsive, aggressive acts.
Testosterone Sex hormones appear to play a role in shaping aggressive behavior. Aggressive, violent offenders have been found to have significantly higher levels of testosterone than controls Archer, Female criminals also have been found to be much more likely to commit crimes around the menstrual phase of their cycle when progesterone is low, while aggressivity is reduced around the time of ovulation when estrogen and progesterone levels are high Carlson, Weight-lifters who take anabolic steroids become more aggressive and hostile, and normal men who are given testosterone become more irritable and hostile Carlson, Serotonin There has been a recent increase in research on neuro-transmitters and their relationship to aggression in animals and humans.
We get frustrated when our computer crashes while we are writing an important paper, when we feel that our social relationships are not going well, or when our schoolwork is going poorly. How frustrated we feel is also determined in large part through social comparison. If we can make downward comparisons with important others, in which we see ourselves as doing as well or better than they are, then we are less likely to feel frustrated. But when we are forced to make upward comparisons with others, we may feel frustration.
When we receive a poorer grade than our classmates received or when we are paid less than our coworkers, this can be frustrating to us. In fact, anything that leads to discomfort or negative emotions can increase aggression. Consider pain, for instance. As another example, working in extremely high temperatures is also known to increase aggression—when we are hot, we are more aggressive. The students in the latter condition expressed significantly more hostility.
Hotter temperatures are associated with higher levels of aggression Figure 9. Heat creates negative experiences that increase aggression. It has been predicted that global warming will increase overall levels of human aggression.
The participants in the study had been selected, on the basis of prior reporting, to have either politically liberal or politically conservative views. When they arrived at the lab they were asked to write a short paragraph describing their opinion of national politics. The essay that the participants read had been prepared by the experimenters to condemn politically liberal views or to condemn politically conservative views. Thus one-half of the participants were provoked by the other person by reading a statement that strongly conflicted with their own political beliefs, whereas the other half read an essay that supported their beliefs liberal or conservative.
At this point, the participants moved on to what they thought was a completely separate study in which they were to be tasting and giving their impression of some foods. Furthermore, they were told that it was necessary for the participants in the research study to administer the food samples to each other. The participants then found out that the food they were going to be sampling was spicy hot sauce and that they were going to be administering the sauce to the same person whose essay they had just read!
In addition, the participants read some information about the other person that indicated that the other person very much disliked eating spicy food. Participants were given a taste of the hot sauce which was very hot and then instructed to place a quantity of it into a cup for the other person to sample. Furthermore, they were told that the other person had to eat all the sauce. The threatening essay had little effect on the participants in the exam control condition.
On the other hand, the participants who were both provoked by the other person and who had also been reminded of their own death administered significantly more aggression than did the participants in the other three conditions. Data are from McGregor et al. Just as negative feelings can increase aggression, positive affect can reduce it. Then the participants were, according to random assignment, shown either funny cartoons or neutral pictures.
When the participants were given an opportunity to retaliate by giving shocks as part of an experiment on learning, those who had seen the positive cartoons gave fewer shocks than those who had seen the neutral pictures. It seems that feeling good about ourselves, or feeling good about others, is incompatible with anger and aggression. This makes perfect sense, of course, since emotions are signals regarding the threat level around us.
When we feel good, we feel safe and do not think that we need to aggress. Of course, negative emotions do not always lead to aggression toward the source of our frustration. Displaced aggression occurs when negative emotions caused by one person trigger aggression toward a different person.
It is clear that negative affect increases aggression. And you will recall that emotions that are accompanied by high arousal are more intense than those that have only low levels of arousal. Thus it would be expected that aggression is more likely to occur when we are more highly aroused, and indeed this is the case.
Arousal probably has its effects on aggression in part through the misattribution of emotion. If we are experiencing arousal that was actually caused by a loud noise or by any other cause, we might misattribute that arousal as anger toward someone who has recently frustrated or provoked us. We have seen that when we are experiencing strong negative emotions accompanied by arousal, such as when we are frustrated, angry, or uncomfortable, or anxious about our own death, we may be more likely to aggress.
However, if we are aware that we are feeling these negative emotions, we might try to find a solution to prevent ourselves from lashing out at others. Perhaps, we might think, if we can release our negative emotions in a relatively harmless way, then the probability that we will aggress might decrease. Maybe you have tried this method.
Have you ever tried to yell really loud, hit a pillow, or kick something when you are angry, with the hopes that doing so will release your aggressive tendencies? The idea that engaging in less harmful aggressive actions will reduce the tendency to aggress later in a more harmful way, known as catharsis, is an old one. It was mentioned as a way of decreasing violence by the Greek philosopher Aristotle and was an important part of the theories of Sigmund Freud.
Many others believe in catharsis too. It is true that reducing negative affect and arousal can reduce the likelihood of aggression. For instance, if we are able to distract ourselves from our negative emotions or our frustration by doing something else, rather than ruminating on it, we can feel better and will be less likely to aggress.
However, as far as social psychologists have been able to determine, attempting to remove negative emotions by engaging in or observing aggressive behaviors that is, the idea of catharsis simply does not work.
Then they convinced them that another participant had read the article and provided very negative feedback about it. It claimed that engaging in aggressive action is a good way to relax and reduce anger. At this point, half of the participants were allowed to engage in a cathartic behavior—they were given boxing gloves, some instructions about boxing, and then got a chance to hit a punching bag for two minutes.
Then all the participants got a chance to engage in aggression with the same person who had angered them earlier. The participant and the partner played a game in which the losing person on each trial received a blast of noise.
Contrary to the catharsis hypothesis, the students who punched the punching bag did not release and reduce their aggression as the message they had read suggested would happen. Rather, these students actually set a higher noise level and delivered longer bursts of noise than did the participants who did not get a chance to hit the punching bag.
It seems that if we hit a punching bag, punch a pillow, or scream as loud as we can, with the idea of releasing our frustration, the opposite occurs—rather than decreasing aggression, these behaviors in fact increase it Bushman et al.
Participating in aggression simply makes us more, not less, aggressive. One prediction that could be derived from the catharsis idea is that countries that are currently fighting wars would show less domestic aggression than those that are not. Again, the answer is no. These increases were large in magnitude, occurred after both large wars and smaller wars, with several types of homicide rate indicators, in victorious as well as defeated nations, in nations with both improved and worsened postwar economies, among both men and women offenders, and among offenders of several age groups.
Homicide rate increases occurred with particular consistency among nations with large numbers of combat deaths. Aggressive behavior is unique in that its causes and manifestations can vary across different age groups. Therefore, it is imperative that nurses understand these age-related differences in order to successfully tailor and develop effective prevention and intervention plans.
Footnotes No conflicts of interest have been declared by the authors. Am J Psychiatry. Child Behavior Checklist and related instruments. In: Maruish ME, editor. The use of psychological testing for treatment planning and outcome assessment. Obstetrical complications and violent delinquency: Testing two developmental pathways.
Child Development. Aggressive behavior following traumatic brain injury: how common is common? J Head Trauma Rehabil. Pre-school children with and without developmental delay: behaviour problems and parenting stress over time. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. Differential genetic and environmental influences on reactive and proactive aggression in children.
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. Methamphetamine use and violence among young adults. Journal of Criminal Justice. Psychiatric Times. Cognitive Therapy and Research. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press; Serotonin augmentation reduces response to attack in aggressive individuals.
Psychol Sci. Adolescent aggression and differentiation of self: guided mindfulness meditation in the service of individuation. The scientific world journal. Familial adversities and child psychiatric disorders. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. Recent trends in violence-related behaviors among high school students in the United States.
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Schizophrenia and comorbid conditions: Diagnosis and treatment clinical practice.
For the actual treatment of aggressive behavior, medication is an effective tool. The source of aggression within humans is a long summative list, but before trying to understand its source one must apply a working definition of aggression. Prentice-Hall; Oxford, England:
Straus argues, "There are many reasons this evidence has been ignored. A 2-year prospective follow-up study of children and adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders: Prediction by cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, homovanillic acid, and autonomic measures?
The participant and the partner played a game in which the losing person on each trial received a blast of noise. Aggressive, violent offenders have been found to have significantly higher levels of testosterone than controls Archer, Cognitive Therapy and Research.
As such, conflicts may have created selection evolutionary pressures for psychological mechanisms in men to initiate intergroup aggression. Dehydroepiandrosterone[ edit ] Dehydroepiandrosterone DHEA is the most abundant circulating androgen hormone and can be rapidly metabolized within target tissues into potent androgens and estrogens. The factors of adults and society play a major role in how the difference in gender aggression has evolved Care must be taken when attending to patients with dementia, who might perceive care as a threat. Drug use Traumatic brain injury to areas responsible for managing aggression and impulse control Use of the prevention strategies for children and adolescents mentioned above, particularly school programs, where children and teens spend much of their time , may prevent aggressive behavior later in adulthood.
Conclusion The concept of aggressive behavior across the life span is very complex.