Adolescent voilence - Essay Example

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The commission of violent crime by adolescents in this country is a significant problem. Overall reported violent crime statistics decreased for the year 2002 by 1.4 percent from the previously reported figures of 2001 …
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Download file to see previous pages The commission of violent crime by adolescents in this country is a significant problem. Overall reported violent crime statistics decreased for the year 2002 by 1.4 percent from the previously reported figures of 2001 The downward trend of reported violent crimes in recent years, however, indicates that this decrease does not equally apply to all domains of violent crime. Reports of both murder and forcible rape have maintained a steady increase since 1999, according to the most recent Uniform Crime Report (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2002). For this reason, the need for research focusing on violent crime and predictors that can be targeted for early intervention are needed.An increase in adolescent violence is an alarming trend that seems to be occurring as well. The United States far exceeds other industrialized nations in its level of violence (Snyder & Sickmund, 1999). Violent crime arrest rates as committed by adolescents in the United States are twice that of those committed by youth in Canada (Kashani, et al., 1999). Indeed, In recent times, there have been numerous instances where seemingly well adjusted adolescents have acted out violently against others. Most prominently have been school massacres such as Jonesboro and Columbine, which have brought increased attention to the struggle that schools are undertaking to keep their students safe from violence. Within the past decade there have been numerous cases in which children younger than 18 were responsible for the killings of multiple victims within school settings. Incidents of violence on and off school campuses have necessitated the examination of why young people are increasingly acting out violently. Even with the drop in overall crime, a persistent increase in adolescent violent crime has been observed. Murders and rapes committed by adolescents appear to be increasing, rather than decreasing, and as a consequence of this increase, the study of the precipitating factors to violent behavior is required.
2 Literature Review
There are multiple explanations for adolescents engaging in violent and criminal behaviors. Some adolescents commit crimes in youth as part of a transitory developmental process. These individuals typically desist with their rule-breaking behaviors as they develop. This theory is reinforced by crime statistics indicating that the incidence of youth committing crimes increases around the age of 12 and decreases after the age of 18 (Moffitt, 1993), seemingly moving through the developmental phase where thrill seeking and boundary pushing may result in the development of aggressive tendencies. Alternatively, there are those youth whose criminal behavior is more chronic in nature. These individuals represent approximately 5% of adolescent offenders who have developed their antisocial behavior through various pathways (Loeber & Strouthamer-Loeber, 1998).
Research on the causes for youth violence has identified multiple factors that influence the development of aggressive or deviant behavior. These factors include family environment and influence, peer relations, societal factors, and substance usage. This section of the study will review the literature on the causal factors of adolescent violence.
2.1 Peer Influence
Some theories focus on adolescent violence as a function of peer interaction and influence. Kraeger (2004) performed a study to attempt to determine if adolescent violence is actually tied to the influence of their peers. He also examined the differences in behaviors and projected violence and aggression between individuals who were isolated from any peers, and those individuals who have positive and negative peer interaction. This study was conducted using data from the Add Health survey, a part of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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