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Behavioral Perspectives on Violent Behavior (From Handbook of Psychological Approaches With Violent Offenders: Contemporary Strategies and Issues, P 39-66, 1999, Vincent B. Van Hasselt and Michel Hersen, eds. - See NCJ-179662)

NCJ Number
Michael T. Nietzel; Dawn M. Hasemann; Donald R. Lynam
Date Published
28 pages
After reviewing the major behavioral theories of criminal offending, this chapter integrates behaviorally based explanations of violent offending with empirically supported biological and sociological findings on violence to arrive at a comprehensive, multifactor theory of violent offending.
The behavioral theories of crime, violence, and aggression that are discussed include control theories, differential association-reinforcement theory, social-learning theory, and multiple-factor learning theories. Based on the authors' synthesizing of what is known about the empirical relationships between violent crime and various criminogenic factors, they propose that violent crime results from the influence of four categories of variables that unfold in a developmental sequence. The proposed model suggests that the probability of violent crime is increased by distal antecedents that involve biological, psychological, and environmental factors that make it easy for certain individuals to learn violent offending; by early indicators of poor behavioral control and externalizing behavioral problems that begin to surface in preschool and elementary school-aged children; by any of a set of family, peer, school, social, and individual factors that harden the early indicators of behavioral problems into chronic antisocial conduct; and by several maintenance variables that lead to a further entrenchment or escalation of violent behavior in adulthood, often culminating in recidivistic violence. A major implication of this model is the need for preventive interventions that target multiple risk factors for violence in developmentally appropriate ways. 3 notes and 240 references