Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Violence Is A Learned Behavior, Say Researchers At Wake Forest University

Date:
November 9, 2000
Source:
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
The strong association between exposure to violence and the use of violence by young adolescents illustrates that violence is a learned behavior, according to a new study, published by researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and included in the November issue of the Journal of Pediatrics.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The strong association between exposure to violence and the use of violence by young adolescents illustrates that violence is a learned behavior, according to a new study, published by researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and included in the November issue of the Journal of Pediatrics.

"This study has tremendous implications," Robert H. DuRant, vice chair of pediatrics at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and an author of the study. "Even if children and adolescents are exposed to other risk factors that have traditionally been linked to youth violence and weapon carrying, adolescents are not likely to engage in violence if social learning from exposure to violence does not occur."

For many children and adolescents, both witnessing and being the victim of violence is a daily occurrence. In this study, researchers asked 722 Georgia middle school 11-and 12-year-olds, living in or around public housing, how many times they had been exposed to or had been a victim of violence in their communities. Violence was defined as participating in five different types including: participating in a physical fight which resulted in seeking medical attention, attacking someone with a weapon, using a weapon to force or get money or things from someone, carrying a concealed firearm, and carrying another weapon such as a razor or knife.

Only 1.4 percent of the students had not witnessed or been the victim of any violence and 54.1 percent of all students reported witnessing or being the victim of between one and 15 acts of violence, according to the study.

While the majority (58.5 percent) of these sixth grade students reported not engaging in any violent behaviors during the previous three months, 24.5 percent reported engaging in one or two violent acts and an additional 12 percent reported engaging in between three and six violent acts, according to the research.

"Five percent of these students reported engaging in seven or more violent acts during the previous three months and 30 percent of the students reported carrying a weapon other than a firearm one or more times recently," DuRant said. "This shows that our sixth graders have a high exposure to violence."

"Children learn violent behaviors in primary social groups, such as the family and peer groups, as well as observe it in their neighborhoods and in the community at large," DuRant added. "These behaviors are reinforced by what children and adolescents see on television, on the internet and in video games and movies, observe in music videos and hear in their music.

"When children are disciplined with severe corporal punishment or verbal abuse or when they are physically or sexually abused, it is not surprising that they behave aggressively or violently toward others."

In this study, DuRant found that several variables may increase the likelihood that a student would participate in a violent act. In addition to exposure to violence (which had the highest correlation with the use of violence scale), they include: multiple substance usage, interest in a gang, cigarette smoking, male gender and symptoms of depression.

"When combined, these six factors were strongly associated with whether these youths scored low, medium or high on the use of violence scale," DuRant said. "While you can't change your gender, you can start addressing these other risk factors at a young age and get them involved in pro-social groups," he said.

"For example, adolescents who attend religious services more often were less likely to use violence, regardless of their exposure to it. Previous studies show you can teach children skills to help them deal with conflict in non-violent ways and interact with others in an appropriate fashion. These findings point to the need to begin addressing the prevention of youth violence and aggressive behaviors before children enter middle school."

Over 700 predominately African-American students living in or around public housing and attending four middle schools in Augusta, Georgia were asked a series of question about their exposure to 15 forms of violence and their participation in 5 types of violent acts. Over 88 percent of the students were 11 or 12 years of age.

The Brenner Center for Child and Adolescent Health funded the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Violence Is A Learned Behavior, Say Researchers At Wake Forest University." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 November 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001106061128.htm>.
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. (2000, November 9). Violence Is A Learned Behavior, Say Researchers At Wake Forest University. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001106061128.htm
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Violence Is A Learned Behavior, Say Researchers At Wake Forest University." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001106061128.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Researchers found an improvement in memory and learning function in subjects who received electric pulses to their brains. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins