Violence and aggression perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes among adolescents : an interactive qualitative analysis

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Date

2003-08

Authors

Jordan, Tammy Jo, 1973-

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Abstract

Youth violence is a public health concern of the highest magnitude in all sectors of society. Current research suggests that adolescents are influenced by a gamut of violence-related determinants that work together to influence behavior. What are the most critical factors that influence violence and aggression among adolescents? How are these critical factors related to each other? This study attempts to answer these questions from a unique perspective: adolescents themselves. Through application of the Interactive Qualitative Analysis methodology, the final products of this research are an exploratory model of adolescent violence and aggression, male and female generated models of physical and overt verbal aggression and high aggressor and low aggressor generated models of physical fighting and overt verbal aggression.
The study design was cross-sectional surveying a sample of public high school students aged 14-17 years of age and utilized a mixed method approach. Scores from the series of subscales within the Modified Survey of Violence and Aggression Beliefs, Attitudes, and Behaviors were used to determine descriptive statistics, as well as, to place subjects into high and low aggressor groups. The psychometric statistics for the survey instrument included Cronbach’s alpha values ranging from .54-.89 (pilot) and .53-.92 (main study) across the series of subscales. Pearson correlations were moderate at both the 0.01 and 0.05 significance levels. Additionally, this study used Interactive Qualitative Analysis (IQA) to identify critical influencers of youth violence and aggression and to determine the relationship among these critical influencers. A series of Systems Influence Models were developed indicating the existence of a unique set of cognitive processes in which peer relationships served as the primary driver of physical fighting and overt aggression, while consequences served as the primary outcome of engagement in violent and aggressive behaviors. The series of affinities identified suggest a complex pattern of related factors that shape youth participation and experiences associated with violent and aggressive behaviors; therefore, suggesting that interventions to address youth violence should include strategies that target peer group associations and popularity concerns, as well as proactive, rather than punishment focused, violence prevention solutions.

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