Violence, by Steve Swinford


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Presentation to Power of WE public forum, October 2013

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Violence, by Steve Swinford

  1. 1. The Family as a Context for Learning Aggression and Violence Steven Swinford, PhD Department of Sociology & Anthropology Montana State University
  2. 2. Aggression vs. Violence 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
  3. 3. Learning-centered approach 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
  4. 4. Modeling 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
  5. 5. Modeling in Families Particularly strong 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)
  6. 6. Intergenerational Transmission 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
  7. 7. Why is the context of the family so potentially violent? • • • • Privacy Intensity of Involvement Right to Influence Status differentials built into roles (and they changes over time) • Stress • Extensive knowledge of biographies
  8. 8. What is suggested? • 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!