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PSYC39H3 (201)
Chapter 7

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC39H3
Professor
David Nussbaum
Semester
Fall

Description
PSYC39 - Ch.7 Violent Offending: General Violence and Homicide Defining Aggression and Violence - Human aggression = any behaviour directed towards another individual that is carried out with the proximate (immediate) intent to cause harm; Perpetrator must believe that the behaviour will harm the target, and that the target is motivated to avoid the behaviour (Anderson and Bushman 2002: 28). - Violence = aggression that has extreme harm as its goal (death) - Aggression and violence are not synonymous Prevalence of Violence - Violent crime – 1/8 criminal incidents in Canada - Rate of violent crime reported to the police (Uniform Crime Reporting Survey) in 2007 – 930 per 100 000 people; decreased since early 1990s - Lowest rate was in Ontario; highest was in Saskatchewan (2007) - Robbery is often considered a violent offence because it implied threat of violence; robbery rate = 90 per 100 000 people in 2007 - PEI had the lowest rate of robbery and Manitoba had the highest - Robbery rates decreased overall, armed robbery decreased but robbery without a weapon has increased slightly - Violent crime by youth (12-17) has increased fairly steadily over the past 20 years (rate: 6811 per 100 000) - Crime reported to the police is an underestimate of the actual number of violent incidents - The General Social Survey (GSS) on Victimization reflects reports from the Canadian population aged 15 and up on their criminal victimization Only 33% of violent incidents were reported to the police Highest reporting rates: robbery, physical assaults, sexual assaults - Reasons why victims may/may not report violent crimes: - involve physical injury - involve weapons - victims dealt with the incident in another way - not important enough - did not want police to involve - felt it was a personal matter - did not think police involvement could help - for fear of retaliation from perpetrator Victim characteristics - The rates of violent victimization were quite similar for men and women (111/102 per 1000) - Men are more likely to experience non-sexual violence than women (physical assault, robberies) - Women were more likely to experience sexual violence than men - Approx half of the violent crimes reported were committed by someone known to the victim (friends/acquaintance) - Some characteristics associated with higher rates of violent victimization: - being young - being single - often going out in the evening (going to bars, visiting friends) - living in cities - The rate of violent victimization was considerably higher among 15-24 than older people; the rate continues to drop with increasing age Consequences for Victims - Physical injury (25%) - Caused them to have difficulty functioning in their everyday activities - Common emotional reactions: anger, feeling upset, confused, frustrated, feeling fearful Hostile versus Instrumental violence - Hostile aggression = an impulsive reaction to some real or perceived provocation or threat e.g. husband juk gaan - little forethought and planning, assault in response to provocation, primary goal is to harm the other man - Also referred to as affective, impulsive, reactive, emotional, and expressive aggression - Instrumental aggression = premeditated and aimed at achieving some secondary goal e.g. a man plans to rob another man. Injured the victim to scare him, once he got the wallet, he leaves the victim alone. Not particularly angry/provoked by the victim. Some degree of planning, primary goal is to get money - Generally similar to predatory, premeditated, or proactive aggression - Difference = the intention to harm at the proximate level; differing in their goals primarily at the ultimate level - The Instrumental Aggression Rating Measure (Vitacco, Neumann, Caldwell, Leistico, and Van Rybroek, 2006) = to assess the extent to which violence is instrumental VS hostile - planning or preparation before the aggression - goal directed - the aggressive behaviour was unprovoked by the victim - lack of anger during the aggression - the victim of the aggression was a stranger  higher rating associate with instrumental aggression Explaining Violence Social Learning Theory - Social learning theory (Bandura 1973) holds that aggression is learned. Aggression is more likely to occur when it is expected to be more rewarding than non-aggressive alternatives - How is aggression learned? - Operant conditioning – behaviour is shaped by its consequences (reinforcement/punishment) = direct experience - Adding to operant conditioning, Bandura argued that people also learn from observing the behaviour of others and the outcomes of others’ behaviour  observing others receiving various rewards for their aggression would increase the likelihood that one would engage in similar forms of aggression - Self-reinforcement = the influence of self-administered rewards or punishments for aggression if self-evaluation following aggression is positive, aggression would be more likely than if self-evaluation is negative e.g. feel powerful, assertive, quite pleased VS guilty and self-contempt  these reinforcement influences on aggressive behaviour are mediated by cognition General Aggression Model (GAM) - The General Aggression Model (GAM) = describes the processes involved in any one episode among an ongoing series of episodes of a social encounter; integration of a number of smaller, more specific theories of aggressive behaviour - Main components: (p.211) - inputs from the person and situation - the routes (cognitive, affective, and arousal states) that mediate the influence of inputs, and the appraisal and decision processes that lead to a particular action in the episode. - the outcome influences the social encounter, which then provides inputs in the next episode  inputs (person and situation) -> routes (affect, cognition, arousal ) -> outcomes (appraisal & decision processes -> thoughtful/impulsive action) - Person inputs = relatively stable characteristics that individuals bring to any given situation and can predispose one toward or against aggression. e.g. traits, gender, beliefs, attitudes, values, long-term goals, and behavioural scripts - Situational inputs = can influence aggression in a given episode e.g. aggressive cues, provocation, frustration, pain and discomfort, drugs and incentives - Cognitive states = hostile thoughts and behavioural scripts - Affective states = mood and emotion, expressive motor responses - Arousal = can influence aggression in a number of ways (high level of physiological arousal preceding a provocation can be mislabeled as anger, increasing aggressive behaviour) - * Cognition, affect and arouse are interconnected in the GAM and may influence each other Evolutionary Psychological Perspective - In our ancestral environments, certain physiological, psychological, and behaviour characteristics were associated with increased reproductive success (reproductive successful genes are more likely to passed on than those that are associated with reproductive failure) - 3 types of groups, for most violent people: young, competitively disadvantaged men or psychopaths - Young men = relatively few resources and low status compete resources with those that are competitively advantaged men through violence and general risk taking. Cost of violence begins to outweigh the benefits, as they grow older, thus switch from short-term high risk to more long-term low-risk strategies. - Disadvantaged men (life-course persistent) = do not have the skills/abilities (low IQ) to achieve status and resources in prosocial ways – thus maintain their high-risk approach into adulthood - Psychopaths (life-course persistent) = not competitively disadvantaged. But select short-term high-risk strategies as an alternate approach - *Competitively disadvantaged men and psychopaths – relatively small proportion of violent individuals Risk Assessment Recidivism Rates - Violent recidivism is less frequent, than general criminal recidivism. (24.5% VS 45.8%) Approaches (to risk assessment) - Unstructured clinical judgment = arriving at an estimate of risk based on the assessor’s own idiosyncratic decisions about what factors to consider and how to combine those factors - Empirical actuarial instruments = the selection and combination of items are derived from their observed statistical relationship with recidivism; tables linking scores to expected recidivism rates are provided - Mechanical instruments = the selection and combination of items are derived from theory or reviews of the empirical literature; no tables are provided - *Both the empirical actuarial and mechanical instruments both follow explicit rules about what factors to consider and combine them, to arrive at a final estimate of risk (unlike unstructured clinical judgment) - Structured professional judgment = incorporates features of both unstructured clinical judgment and the actuarial approach; there are explicit guidelines for which factors to consider (plus other additional factors), but the combination of those factors is up to the discretion of the assessor Instruments Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) - The Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) = empirical actuarial risk- assessment instrument designed to estimate risk for violent recidivism - Developed with a sample of 618 patients at Oak Ridge (a max-security forensic psychiatric institution) - Scores on the VRAG can range from -26 to +38. - The inter-rater reliability of the BRAG is very high - Violent recidivism rates steadily increased as VRAG risk category increased. none of the patients who scored in the lowest VRAG risk category violently recidivated; whereas all the patients who scored in the highest risk category violently recidivated - Violent recidivism was operationally defined as a new charge for violent offence, which included homicide, attempted homicide, kidnapping, assault, armed robbery… - HCR-20 Violence Risk Assessment Scheme - The HCR-20 = a structured professional judgment instrument designed to assess risk for violence; items are selected based on a review of factors related to violence in the empirical literature and based on clinical experience; Consisting of 10 historical items, 5 clinical items, 5 risk management items - The historical items = static, reflect the past, e.g. previous violence, young age at first violent incident, relationship stability, employment problems, major mental illness, psychopathy, early maladjustment, personality disorder, prior supervision failure - The clinical items = dynamic and reflect mental illness, impulsivity, and unresponsive to treatment - The risk management items = concern future circumstances that may be encountered in the institution or community that could increase or decrease risk, e.g. feasibility of plans, exposure to destabilizers, lack of personal support, noncompliance with remediation attempts, and stress - Each item is scored on three-point scale. 0 = particular factor is not present 2 = the factor may be present 3 = the factor is present - Webster and colleagues recommend that evaluators use their professional judgment to arrive at a final risk estimate of low, moderate or high (tho scores are computed) - Risk level would be determined primarily by consideration of the salience and relevance of each of the 20 items for the individual being assessed. - Inter-rater agreement was not as impressive as interclass correlation for each scale, when structured professional judgment was used to arrive at a final risk estimate Self-Appraisal Questionnaire (SAQ) - The Self-Appraisal Questionnaire
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