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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 204963 
Title: Aggression From an Attachment Perspective: Gender Issues and Therapeutic Implications (From Girls and Aggression: Contributing Factors and Intervention Principles, P 41-56, 2004, Marlene M. Moretti, Candice L. Odgers, and Margaret A. Jackson, eds. -- See NCJ-204960)
Author(s): Marlene M. Moretti; Kimberley Dasilva; Roy Holland
Date Published: 2004
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers
New York, NY 10013
Sale Source: Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers
233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
United States of America
Type: Literature Review; Report (Study/Research)
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter provides an overview of research on the relationship between attachment and aggression, with attention to the function that aggressive behavior may play in close relationships.
Abstract: The authors advise that aggressive behavior in girls, compared to boys, more often reflects a coercive strategy to engage others and maintain their availability and responsiveness; girls are less likely than boys to engage in aggressive acts as a means of forcing engagement. Empirical findings are presented to support this view, illustrated by excerpts from attachment interviews with high-risk adolescent girls who talk about situations that provoke their aggressive behavior and what they hope to achieve by it. Bowlby's classic theory of attachment (1969, 1973, 1980) proposes that the human need for emotional bonds with others is biologically based and essential for survival and well-being across the life span. This theory views attachment as a control system that is crucial for physical and emotional well-being in times of distress and anxiety. Behavioral patterns develop in accordance with the degree to which attachment experiences with significant others provide the physical and emotional well-being that stems from a sense of being loved and protected. From the perspective of attachment theory, this chapter proposes that aggressive behavior can be understood as a coercive attempt to provoke others into engagements; a reaction to perceived rejection or threat of loss of close relationships; or a means of gaining power, control, or some other desired outcome in a relationship. Implications for therapeutic intervention are briefly reviewed, and the limits of an attachment perspective on aggression are noted. 1 table and 45 references
Main Term(s): Violent juvenile offenders
Index Term(s): Aggression; Females; Gender issues; Social conditions; Treatment techniques; Violence causes; Violence prevention
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