Several features of the home environment are known to have a significant impact on aggression among children and adolescents. One feature that has received much attention in the psychological literature is family structure. Sheline, Skipper and Broadhead (1994, cited in Summers and Bakken, 2006) found that when compared to non-violent children, violent youngsters are about six times more likely to have unmarried parents and 11 times as likely to live with their fathers only. Other studies suggest that a lack of contact with fathers may also increase aggression. Pfiffner, McBurnett, and Rathouz (2001, cited in Summers & Bakken, 2006), for example, found a gradual rise in violent behavior starting with youths who lived with both parents, increasing for those who had some contact with their fathers and increasing further for those who had no contact with their fathers. Similarly, Fagan and Rector (2000, cited in Smith & Green, 2007), found that children from father-absent households usually harbor feelings of hostility, associate with deviant peers and get involved in negative activities. Continue reading
In many areas of Jamaica, interpersonal aggression and societal violence are commonplace. Such is the state of affairs that Jamaica has earned the unfavourable reputation of being one of the most violent countries in the world (Hickling, 2008). The staggering statistics attest to this fact. In the year 2000, Jamaica ranked third in the world in murders per capita and in 2005, the annual rate of homicide was more than three times the global average (World Bank, 2007, cited in Smith & Green, 2007). Continue reading
Aggression may be defined as harmful behavior which violates social conventions and which may include deliberate intent to harm or injure another person or object (Bandura, 1973, cited in Suris et al., 2004; Berkowitz, 1993, cited in Suris et al., 2004). In many cases it escalates into violence.
Aggression has also been viewed as a heterogeneous concept encompassing a wide variety of behaviours (Conner, 2004). Researchers have attempted to create more homogenous categories in this behavioural domain by identifying subtypes of aggression based on statistical techniques such as factor analysis. Two common subtypes supported by extensive research are overt and covert aggression (Conner, 2004). As the name suggests, overt aggression involves outward or open confrontational acts of aggression, such as physical fighting, verbal threats and bullying. On the other hand, covert aggression is more hidden and surreptitious; examples include stealing, truancy and arson. Continue reading