Module 11.3: Aggression and Violence
11.7 Explain the development of aggression in preschool children, and summarize the gender
11.8 Compare and contrast the different approaches that seek to explain the causes of
aggression in children.
11.9 Summarize the cycle of violence hypothesis, and identify the social and cultural factors
that contribute to family violence.
Aggression and Violence in Preschoolers
• Intentional injury or harm to another person; relatively stable trait
Early preschool years aggression
• Often addressed at attaining desired goal
• Declines through preschool years as does frequency and average length of episodes
Extreme and sustained aggression is cause for concern
• Aggression among preschoolers is quite common, though attacks such as this are not.
The potential for verbal hostility, shoving matches, kicking, and other forms of
aggression is present throughout the preschool period, although the degree to which
aggression is acted out changes as children become older.
Preschool children improve in emotional control
• Around age 2
– Talk about feelings and engage in regulation strategies
– Develop more effective strategies and sophisticated social skills, learn to better
cope with negative emotions
– Learn to use language to express wishes
– Become increasingly able to negotiate with others
• Emotional self-regulation is the capability to adjust emotions to a desired state and
level of intensity.
Kinds of Aggression
• Instrumental aggression
• Motivated by desire to obtain a concrete goal
• Higher in boys than girls
• Relational aggression
• Intended to hurt another person’s feelings through nonphysical means
• Higher in girls than boys
• Instrumental aggression is aggression motivated by the desire to obtain a concrete goal,
such as playing with a desirable toy that another child is playing with. • Relational aggression, which is nonphysical aggression that is intended to hurt another
Despite high-visibility incidents, school violence is on the decline
Characteristics of individuals who are at risk for enacting violence in the schools:
• Low tolerance for frustration
• Lack of resiliency
• Poor coping skills
• Failed love relationships
Explanations for Aggressive Behavior Among Children
• Death drive spurs aggressive actions and behavior
• Fighting instinct found in all animals
• Strengthening the species drives aggression
• Prior learning shapes aggression
• Interpretation of others’ actions influences aggression
• This series of photos is from Albert Bandura's classic Bobo doll experiment, designed to
illustrate social learning of aggression.
• The photos clearly show how the adult model's aggressive behavior (in the first row) is
imitated by children who had viewed the aggressive behavior (second and third rows).
Viewing Violence on TV: Does It Matter?
Overwhelming weight of research evidence suggests that observation of televised aggression
does lead to subsequent aggression
• Children’s television programs contain higher levels of violence (69 percent) than other
types of programs (57 percent)
• In an average hour, children’s programs contain more than twice as many violent
incidents than other types of programs
• Observation of media violence can lead to a greater readiness to act aggressively,
initiate bullying, and adopt an insensitivity to the suffering of victims of violence Risks of Media Violence
Creates short-term and long-term behavior