There are reams of research on the causes of aggression and violence. We know that it’s a very complex behavior; that it can involve problems in child development; certain temperament or personality types; mental health issues; cognitive and learning dysfunctions; the society, and the social messages, that one is raised with; the people who are around you; traumas like bullying and cyberbullying; your social and emotional intelligence; the parents who raise you; and external factors, like substance or alcohol abuse. If you were to pile up every journal paper published on the causes of violence, you could probably fill a room.
Those of us who study aggressive and abusive behaviors are schooled in the identification of “risk factors,” though – not “causes” per se. Why? Because although we can demonstrate that risk factors are associated with violence, there doesn’t appear to be any solid “cause.” Continue reading