The Family as a Context for Learning Aggression and Violence Steven Swinford, PhD Department of Sociology & Anthropology Montana State University. Aggression vs. Violence. Aggression – more about intent V iolence – more about action
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The Family as a Context for Learning Aggression and ViolenceSteven Swinford, PhDDepartment of Sociology & AnthropologyMontana State University
Aggression – more about intent
Violence – more about action
One can learn/develop aggressive thought and behavioral patterns without expressing them in the form of violent action.
We are interested in both
As well as both physical and non-physical violent actions
How experiences with violence can contribute to escalations in aggressive thoughts and/or learning violent actions.
Family experiences have been established as important - backgrounds of family violence offenders
We learn good/healthy patterns as well as unhealthy ones
A way to conceptualize the process of learning:
Observational – we see it
Enactive – we do it/involved in it
Content can be:
Generalized – acceptable in the context
Specific – reproduce specific actions
Emotional connections enhance modeling
Abusive parents provide specific and powerful models for learning
Plethora of evidence that aggression can be learned through observation
Victimhood is also modeled (we call it victim-proneness)
Observation of parental violence has been shown to be a more powerful predictor of future couple violence than experience violence from a parent (as a child).
It is the actors/roles we observe PLUS the observation or experience that is powerful
On the good side, approximately two-thirds of us do NOT replicate observed violence in our later adult couple relationships
Intensity of Involvement
Right to Influence
Status differentials built into roles (and they changes over time)
Extensive knowledge of biographies
Interventions to address pan-violent behavioral patterns
Policies to reduce violent exposure in the home for children
Empowering victims (remember that modeling occurs here as well)
Greater awareness that observation counts too!