Understanding aggression: Why violent sentiments and aggressive problem-solving strategies should be a clear focus in violent intervention programs
Kelty, SF, Understanding aggression: Why violent sentiments and aggressive problem-solving strategies should be a clear focus in violent intervention programs, Antisocial Behavior: Etiology, Genetic and Environmental Influences and Clinical Management, Nova Science Publishers, JH Gallo (ed), United States, pp. 67-111. ISBN 978-163321540-5 (2014) [Research Book Chapter]
Is it what adult perpetrators of violence think or how they think that discriminates them most from non-violent members of the community? The research presented in this chapter investigated whether violent and criminal sentiments, attribution biases and/or violent grievance resolution strategies represented risk factors for aggressive behaviour. The participants were 546 adults comprising 105 violent offenders, 238 university students and 203 men and women from a community sample. The differences between offenders and non-offenders in violent attitudes was measured by the Violent and Criminal Sentiments Scale. The differences in attributional biases and problem solving was assessed by a set of measure designed for this study. The results showed that offenders were clearly different from non-offenders with the offenders endorsing significantly higher criminal and violent sentiments with an effect size of n2 =.46. The offenders also reported a significantly higher level of violence-based resolution strategies to end grievances than non-offenders. However, the surprising finding was that the adult male high-risk offenders did not demonstrate more pronounced hostile attributional biases than either adult men and women students or men and women from the community. The results imply that believing violence is acceptable and being prepared to use violence is more explanatory than how a person interprets the social behaviour of others. These findings have important implications for our understanding of why people behave aggressively and for the development of more effective intervention programs.