Theories of aggression and violence: Explaining why people become aggressive or violent

1. Introduction

There is big interest in explanation into the motivation behind who involve themselves in violent acts. This paper is related psychological concepts and acts of violence among the youths. It is not an easy task to explain why people become aggressive or violent as there can be many reasons for this. Some theorists believe that it could be due to early childhood experiences while others believe that it could be learned through observation and imitation. There are also those who think that it could be due to genetic factors. In any case, it is important to try to understand the reasons behind aggression and violence as this can help in finding ways to prevent it

2. Theories of aggression and violence

a. Freud’s theory of aggression

One of the earliest theories of aggression was proposed by Sigmund Freud. According to Freud, all human beings have a natural tendency to aggressiveness which he termed as the “death instinct”. This instinct is kept in check by the “ego” which is the conscious part of the personality. The ego uses different defence mechanisms to keep the death instinct in check such as repression, projection, and displacement. However, sometimes these defence mechanisms fail and the death instinct is able to break through leading to aggressive or violent behaviour

b. Bandura’s social learning theory

Another theory of aggression is Bandura’s social learning theory. According to this theory, aggression is learned through observation and imitation. Children observe aggressive behaviour in others and then imitate it. This behaviour is then reinforced through rewards or punishments.Bandura conducted a famous experiment known as the “Bobo Doll Experiment” to support his theory. In this experiment, children were shown a film of an adult behaving aggressively towards a Bobo Doll. The children who watched the film were then more likely to behave aggressively towards the Bobo Doll than those who did not see the film

3. Aggression and violence among the youths

a. School shootings

One of the most worrying trends in recent years has been the increasing number of school shootings. These are usually carried out by lone gunmen who enter a school with a gun and start shooting people at random. Some of the most well-known school shootings include Columbine High School shooting in 1999, Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, and Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. It is still not clear what motivates these lone gunmen to carry out such horrific acts but there are some theories that try to explain it. One theory is that they are trying to copy other school shootings that they have seen on television or in films. Another theory is that they are trying frustrated individuals who feel that they have been bullied or mistreated by others

b. Handguns and drugs

Another factor that has been linked with aggression and violence among youths is the easy availability of handguns and drugs. In many countries, it is very easy for anyone to buy a handgun legally or illegally. Drugs such as alcohol and cocaine can also lead to aggressive and violent behaviour.Many experts believe that strict laws should be introduced to control the sale of handguns and drugs as this would help reduce aggression and violence among youths

c. Gangs in schools and colleges

Gangs are also a big problem in many schools and colleges. These gangs are often involved in drug dealing, fighting, and other criminal activities. Many experts believe that the best way to deal with gangs is to provide more support and opportunities for young people so that they do not feel the need to join gangs.

4. Conclusion

In conclusion, it is clear that there are many factors that can contribute to aggression and violence among youths. It is important to try to understand the reasons behind this so that effective measures can be taken to prevent it.


Some psychological factors that contribute to aggression and violence include feelings of anger, frustration, fear, anxiety, and insecurity.

Aggression can develop in individuals due to a variety of reasons, such as witnessing violence, experiencing abuse or trauma, having a mental illness, or being exposed to aggressive behavior from others.

There are different types of aggression, including physical aggression (such as hitting), verbal aggression (such as name-calling), relational aggression (such as social exclusion), and property damage (such as vandalism).

Social and cultural factors that can influence aggressive behavior include poverty, poor parenting, exposure to media violence, and living in a community with high crime rates.

Instrumental aggression is motivated by the desire to achieve a goal (such as getting good grades), whereas hostile aggression is motivated by the desire to harm another person ( such as bullying).

Some ways to prevent or reduce aggressive and violent behavior include teaching children nonviolent conflict resolution skills, increasing supervision and security in schools and public places, and providing mental health services to those who need them.

Some treatments for those who exhibit aggressive or violent behavior include medication, therapy, and behavior modification.