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What Are the Causes of Aggression in Adolescence?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2016
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The adolescent stage is one that is often fraught with uncertainty and confusion for a lot of teens as a result of the physical changes in their bodies, the chemical imbalances that result from unsteady hormones, and the reassessment of their role in the family and in the wider society. Such conflicting factors may contribute to the common outbursts of aggression that is a familiar phenomenon among some adolescents who do not know how to properly channel their confusion. Other factors that may contribute to aggression in adolescents include unhappy or abusive home situations, exposure to persistent violence, and other influences like provocation by others and low self-esteem.

Possible causes of aggression in adolescence are numerous and may be caused by any one factor or a combination of factors that may not be readily predictable. For example, the environment can play a huge role in the development and exhibition of aggression in adolescence. This is evident in the way an adolescent shows aggressive tendencies in one environment, while curbing the same behavior in another environment. Such a factor is not always the same since some adolescents are inherently prone to aggression as a result of their individual constitution rather than any external factor.

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One cause of aggression in adolescence is the exposure to an abusive or unhappy home situation, which will cause such a person to lash out at others as a means of venting the suppressed emotions or frustrations from these factors. For instance, an adolescent with an abusive and alcoholic parent might in turn become aggressive in order to release some of the feelings of anger at such a situation. Another factor that may cause aggression in adolescence is a constant exposure to violence from various sources, including movies, news and games, which leads to a negative conditioning or desensitization of the individual to the norms of the society.

Some adolescents with very low self-esteem might also exhibit aggression in an attempt to cover their perceived inadequacies form others, especially their peers. This anger is often at the root of bullying, where the bully derives some kind of perverse pleasure from trying to make others feel as miserable as he or she secretly feels. Another factor that could be the cause of aggression in adolescence is the general state or immaturity of this particular group of people who are still in the process of understanding how to relate to others in a more mature and controlled manner.

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