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Causes Violence and Aggression, Research Paper Example

Pages: 9

Words: 2441

Research Paper

Abstract

There have been numerous researches in the past on the causes violence and aggression but little has been undertaken to determine the social variables and media influences on violence and aggression and the role played by social learning in producing aggressive behaviors and actions in society. This study will examine social variables and media influences on violence and aggression and the role played by social learning in producing aggressive behaviors and actions in the society. In terms of social factors, the researcher will examine the contribution made by gender, physical abuse, personality and family violence among others to the growth of violence and aggression in the society. In the research, the researcher will test the hypothesis that media has little impact on violence and aggression of the society as long as family violence and personality traits are controlled. A sample of 450 university students from three different institutions will be selected randomly for the study. The study will also involve three management staff from each university. Open ended questionnaires will be used together with an interview scheduled to collect data.

Introduction

Violence is inherent in human psyche and is usually brought out under certain circumstances. A number of individuals think that they are not capable of some kinds of violence. It is necessary to note that we are not a socialized society and acts of violence and aggressions are common occurrences. In order to tackle violence, it is essential to tackle its causes rather than concluding that, a certain section of the population is violent, and the rest are of best behaviors at all times. According to Stanko (2003), there is no generally accepted definition of violence.  The writer notes that, by being fluid about the definition, we can be creative in disrupting violence as a phenomenon of the society. The writer argues that, violence is a preventable phenomenon in different instances.

The world report on violence and health define violence as the use of power, physical force, actual or threatened against someone, oneself, community or group that results to injury psychological harm, deprivation and mal-development. Aggression is a behavior that is directed towards someone else and is carried out with an intention to cause harm. A perpetrator of violence and aggression believes that, the target will be harmed by the behavior, and the target is determined to avoid the behavior. Berkowitz 1993; Baron and Richardson 1994; Bushman and Anderson, 2001; Green 2001 notes that actual harm may not be required.

Violence involves physical aggression at the extreme of an aggression continuum and may involve murder or aggregated assault. A number of public health officials and criminologists define violence differently and are not interested on aggression. To a number of them, violence needs actual physical harm to a second person and must be illegal. Few cases of violence can be understood as a rational behavior that is aimed at protecting or securing material rewards.

Literature Review

Available literature indicates that, violent acts result to negative consequences on those involved and at the same time do not have any financial gains to them. It is evident that acts of violence and aggression do not result to the desired changes (Sampson & Laub 1993; Gottfredson & Hirschi 1990). A number of factors have been identified as the key contributors of violence and aggression. These factors range from pressure, socialization, conditioning or brainwashing and shifting responsibility. Following past research, social variables and media have been identified as the key contributors of violence and aggression (Gottfredson & Hirschi 1990).

Rapport (2004) identifies the following factors as contributing to violence in youths; biological vulnerability, harsh discipline, overly permissive, inconsistencies, easy access to guns, community deprivation and exposure to violence. The writer notes that, violent behavior is not spontaneous but has a long pathway of development. The writer also notes that, there is a high chance for continuity of violence between the different stages of a person’s growth. Conduct problems, aggression and antisocial behaviors contribute to a third or half of child and adolescent clinic referrals, and the clinicians are asked to evaluate and offer treatment recommendations for them. For disruptive disorders, primary risk factors as well as development pathways are reviewed and examined. This review recognizes the a high level of complexity that calls for further research to help in understanding the topic and develop interventions that are effective.

Pinker, (2002) postulates that, the origin of violent behavior is a significant issue of debate in the public consciousness and scientific literature. Explanations leading to violent behaviors vary from the scientific dogma to the nature of the crime.  It is evident that violence leads to crime and attention should be focused on the high profile crimes (Pinker, 2002). For instances, violence against children by their parents is attributed to mental or genetic illness of the perpetrator. Violence involving teenagers is attributed to exposure to media influence. It is not clear on whether the scientific and public discussions are as a result of scientific dogmatism, stereotype or culture.

According to Straus & Yodanis (1996), violent behaviors are complex occurrences, and the potential causes of such violence are often studied in an isolated manner. From the above facts, it can is evident that, interested parties are likely to be presented with scanty confusing and contradictory information that does not adequately address the factors that lead to violence. Violence can be attributed to the following variables; genetics, family violence and media violence. Straus & Yodanis (1996) also argues that family violence exposure and physical abuse are the largest contributors of violence. The relationship is the same for domestic violence, child abuse and serial murder (Straus & Gelles, 1990; Giles-Sims, 1985; Burgess, et al., 1986).

Anderson et al. (2003) concur that there is a consensus on the impact of media influence on aggression. Some researchers argue that no relationship exist between violent crimes and media influence (Pinker, 2004; Savage, 2004). DuRant, Champion & Wolfson, (2006) carried out a study using a sample size of 2228 students, and they concluded that there is a significant relations hip between watching wrestling and such aggressive behaviors like carrying weapons or date fighting. From the statistics of this study, it is evident that correlation is quite trivial because none is r=.2 and the majority are less than r=.1.

A number of studies identified that violence portrayed in media contributes to aggression (e.g., Huesmann & Miller, 1994; Donnerstein & Linz, 1995; Paik & Comstock, 1994). Palermo (1995), notes that extended and excessive exposure to violence portrayed in media promotes violence in children. Huesmann & Miller, (1994) concludes that the current level of violence in the society has been encouraged by long term effect of childhood exposure to violence portrayed in media. This position is reinforced by Sege (1998) who concluded that the modern spate of violence is as a result of exposures during childhood to violence portrayed in media. Albiniak & McConnell, (1999) claims that from a report tabled by Orrin Hutch10% of youth violence is attributed to exposure to violence portrayed in media.

The level at which genetics research relating to violent behavior has been adopted by the researchers has changed over time. However, findings from two studies have identified that the contribution of genetics to violent behaviors and other anti social behavior are stronger than environmental factors. Retz et al., (2004) identified the genes involved in violent behaviors but this study is still at its early stages. Genetic research is costly to conduct because it involves skills, and this is not the case in social scientists. To carry out research on violent behaviors, genetic research can be the best, and this can be reinforced by using literature to examine personality traits linked to genetics.

This study aims at advancing past literature through the examination of the key factors contributing to violence and aggression. Factors like hereditary personality traits, biological sex, family violence exposure, physical abuse and entertainment will be examined as potential contributors of violence and aggression. These factors will influence the way an individual handles pressure, socialization, conditioning and shifting responsibilities. The contribution of each of the variables will help in identifying the variables or factors that directly contribute to violence and aggression. It is hypothesized that the contribution of media influence to violence is not high especially if personality traits and family violence influences are controlled.

Methodology

This is a correlation research, and it attempts to establish the social variables and media influences on violence and aggression and the role played by social learning in producing aggressive behaviors and actions in society. The main objectives of this study will be to ascertain the factors that affect violence and aggression. The research will also attempt to compare the relationship between media influences on violence and the growth of violence and aggression in the society. The researcher will also attempt to demonstrate that media violence does not contribute to the growth of aggression and violence in society. An unstructured approach will be used for the study. This means that the research is quantitative, and it will allow for flexibility in the study. This research design will allow exploration of the phenomenon without their quantification (Kumar 2005).

The study will be undertaken in three universities, and this will involve a total of 450 undergraduate students and nine management staff from the three institutions. 150 students will be selected randomly from each university while ensuring that there is gender balance in the sample. The nine management staffs will be selected randomly from the student welfare department. These staffs will be evenly distributed between the three universities. Consideration will be made to ensure that ethnicity in the sample group is considered to avoid bias. Each and every ethnic group will be considered in the research.

Questionnaires and personal interviews will be utilized to gather data for the study.  Questionnaires will be pre tested for validity and consistency and their ability to capture all the necessary data for the study.  Questionnaires will be open ended to enable collection of quantitative data. Mailed questionnaires will be used to reduce travelling time and costs associated with personally administering the questionnaires. Personal interviews will be conducted to the human resource managers and career heads of the institutions. Interview schedule will be used to guide the researcher in carrying out the research and making sure that relevant questions are asked, and the right chronology followed (Kumar 2005).

Secondary research will also be applicable in this research in which case, authentic information will be derived from journals, books publications and other relevant sources that provide reliable information for the study. It will however be prudent to consider that, some sources of secondary information may not be 100% accurate and therefore, a lot of care is needed in incorporating the information in this paper.

Ethical issues from this study will range from collecting information in a manner that the research improves the life of the society. Research ethics shall be observed in order to marinate the dignity of entire research process including the researcher and also the participants. Another issue is obtaining the consent of the respondent because it is required that participant knowledge of participation is paramount before collecting any data. Because of the nature of this research, sensitive information may be necessary, and respondents may be unwilling to provide such. The research may call for the provision of incentives to the respondents so that they can participate in the study. Other issues are biasness and confidentiality of the collected data (Kumar 2005).

After carrying out the study, data collected will be processed and analyzed. Data processing will involve editing, classification and tabulation. After data processing, quantitative techniques of data analysis will be used to analyze the collected data. SPSS will be used to analyze the data. After the analysis of the data, the findings will be reported (Kumar 2005).

Conclusion

An understanding of the direction that the causes of violence and aggression are headed in the future requires a clear understanding of the fact that, the two aspects are part and parcel of human beings. Additionally, a clear insight of the source of human desire in inflicting pain is an important breakthrough in controlling the inherent tendencies of violence and aggression. It is also important to appreciate the fact that, total elimination of atrocities in the world is unachievable despite what degree of efforts we put in this endeavor. Human beings need a high degree of understanding and empathy if unneeded violence and aggression are to be avoided.

Addressing the causes of violence and aggression in future also requires concerted efforts in training people on ways of solving problems to avoid a situation of aggression and violence. People have to learn to achieve their goals successfully and working through individual problems if situations of anger and frustration are to be avoided. However, with escalating competition for limited resources to meet the requirements of living, the causes of violence and aggression are anticipated to multiply in future.

References

Albiniak, P., & McConnell, B. (1999). TV to blame, Hatch report says. Broadcasting and Cable, 129(34), 19.

Anderson, C., Berkowitz, L., Donnerstein, E., Heusmann, L.R., Johnson, J., Linz, D.,Malamuth, N., & Wartella, E. (2003). The influence of media violence on youth. Psychological Science in the Public interest, 4, 81-110.

Burgess, A., Hartman, C., Ressler, R., & Douglas, J. (1986). Sexual homicide: A motivational model.  Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1, 251-272.

DuRant, R., Champion H., & Wolfson, M. (2006). The relationship between watching profession wrestling on television and engaging in date fighting among high school students. Pediatrics, 118, 265-272.

Giles-Sims, S. (1985). A longitudinal study of battered children of battered wives. Family Relations 34, 205-210.

Huesmann, L. R., & Miller, L. S. (1994). Long-term effects of repeated exposure to media violence in childhood. In L. R. Huesmann (Ed.), Aggressive behavior: Current perspectives ( pp. 153–186). New York: Plenum Press.

Kumar, R., (2005). Research Methodology-A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners, (2nd.ed), Singapore, Pearson Education.

Paik, H., & Comstock, G. (1994). The effects of television violence on antisocial behavior: A meta-analysis. Communications Research, 21(4), 516–546.

Pinker, S. (2002). The blank slate: The modern denial of human nature. New York, NY: Penguin.

Retz, W., Retz-Junginger, P., Supprian, T., Thome, J., & Rosler, M. (2004). Association of serotonin transporter promoter gene with violence: Relation with personality disorders, impulsivity and childhood ADHD psychopathology. Behavioural Sciences and the Law, 22, 415-425.

Sege, R. D. (1998). Life imitating art: Adolescents and television violence. In T. P. Gullotta, G. R. Adams, & R. Montemayor (Eds.), Delinquent violent youth: Theory and interventions ( pp. 129–143). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Straus, M., & Yodanis, C. (1996). Corporal punishment in adolescence and physical Assaults on spouses in later life: What accounts for the link? Journal of Personality, Parental and2 Marriage and the Family, 58, 825-841.

Straus, M. & Gelles, R. (1990). Physical violence in American families: Risk factors and adaptations to violence in 8,145 families. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

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