What is the main cause of aggressive behavior?
Independent Learning,  Individual Development

What Is The Main Cause Of Aggressive Behavior?

This article looks at: What is the main cause of aggressive behavior? Find out more about how to recognise the signs of aggressive behaviour and why someone would behave in ways that can make others uncomfortable.

What is the main cause of aggressive behavior?
What is the main cause of aggressive behavior?

Understanding the causes and factors behind aggressive behavior

Behaviour is communication. Every action that is displayed is considered to be some form of communication. And, it really does not matter what form is used, verbal or physical, all behavior is rooted in one or more of the following:

  • Fear
  • Pain
  • Frustration
  • Physical or Emotional Needs Unmet

Therefore, you may see people expressing themselves by exhibiting some form of verbal aggression, hostile body language, or physical aggressions. Here are some examples of each listed below.

Verbal aggressive behavior:

  • Swearing
  • Screaming
  • Name Calling

Hostile Body Language:

  • Angry gestures
  • Dirty Looks

Physically Agressive Behavior:

  • Kicking
  • Throwing
  • Biting
  • Hitting

And unfortunately, virtually everyone has been there at some point in time. For instance, some people may know someone who has verbally lost it.

In some instances, this may involve a family member confronting a child who has been suspended from school or caring for a parent that has been diagnosed with an illness like dementia.

Definition of Aggressive Behavior

According to social psychology, aggression can be defined as any act or behavior that is aimed at an animal, person, or physical property with the intent of causing damage. Here are a few examples of these types of aggressive acts:

  • Shouting, swearing, and using harsh language
  • Acts of physical violence
  • Slashing a co-worker’s tires
  • Spreading rumors or gossip about a friend
  • Purposely breaking a boyfriend’s favorite mug

In some cases, you may come across incidents that involve both ‘aggression and violence” that seem to be inseparable.

Yet, the fact is that aggression and violence are still two separate and distinct forms of communication.
Therefore, in this article, we will be covering aggression as a completely different and separate form of communication.

Signs of Aggressive Behavior

The signs of aggressive behavior are distinctly defined. This means the actions must be within specific parameters in order for them to qualify as aggressive behavior.

For example, simply thinking about harming another individual that doesn’t want to be harmed is not regarded as aggressive behavior.

Nor, is accidentally harming another individual grouped or classified as aggressive behavior. Here are examples of the signs that indicate aggressive behavior exists.

Physical Aggressive behavior:

  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Stabbing an individual
  • Damaging property

Verbal Aggressive Behavior

  • Mocking
  • Name Calling
  • Yelling

Relational Aggressive Behavior:

  • Intension of harming another individual’s personal relationship (i.e spreading gossip or rumors)

Passive Aggressive Behavior:

  • Ignoring an individual during social events
  • Giving Backhanded compliments
  • Indirectly causing harm to someone

Psychological Aggressive Behavior:

  • Berating or intimidating another individual
  • Cyberbullying

Types of Aggression

There are two types of aggression, impulsive aggression, and instrumental aggression.

Each of the different types is normally shown through either harsh emotional outbursts or physical aggression. The differences between the two are described below.

Impulsive Aggression (Known as Reactive Aggressive Behaviors)

Feelings and emotions are impulsive in nature. So, these are not planned events. Instead, it usually manifests itself in the form of being irritated, anger, and fear.

These strong emotions can easily lead to actions against another to retaliate.

There is also science that explains the background behind these emotions.

For instance, whenever the brain has an emotional trigger due to a response to threat, the sectors of the brain that becomes stimulated are the periaqueductal gray, amygdala, and the hypothalamus.

In essence, the reaction to a problem may be different in cases that do not involve these emotional triggers.

A good example of a reactive aggressive behavior is road rage, especially since it can easily escalate to yelling and berating the other driver without thinking first.

Instrumental Aggression (known as Proactive Aggressive Behaviors)

Calculated, planned, and extensively thought-out actions that an individual takes to harm another individual is considered to be proactive aggressive behavior.

There is a motive that tends to drive the beyond causing harm to another person.

In this incidence, this behavior will also lead to an external reward.
Typically, the actions taken against another are simply a means to an end.

For example, the intent of the robber is to obtain money from an individual or an establishment.

Yet, the ultimate goal and objective are not to harm an individual to achieve what they are trying to do.

The actions of harming another individual is simply an offset of getting what the person really wants.

Precipitating Factors Behind Aggressive Behaviors

The causes behind aggressive behavior are provided for you below. This list is not considered to be all inclusive.

  • Stress, anxiety, fear
  • Traumatic circumstances
  • Frustration
  • Pain
  • Unmet Physical and emotional Needs (i.e. hunger, recognition, love).
  • Lack or Loss of choice or personal power
  • Imparied cognitive abilities (dementia, mental illnesses, intellectual disablities
  • Lack of Dignity
  • Not Feeling Disrespected
  • Coping Mechanism (projection, displaced anger)
  • Physical Environment (i.e. noise, temperature, cleanliness)
  • Attitudes and behaviors of others

Aggressive Behavior Causes

The cause of aggressive behavior does not occur in a vacuum today. Instead, this behavior has a way of building up over time.

Typically, when the behavior becomes difficult to withstand, the results may begin to surface and boil over when the following occur:

  • The daughter is having a difficult time finding a new place for her father (with dementia) to live.
  • The patient cannot manage on his own. However, they are still being released back to home without the appropriate care needed to address losing their sites.
  • The wife panics after finding out her husband has been admitted to the emergency room. No details of where the hospital admission is.
  • A combination of negative things happens to a young man before enrolling in school. (i.e. fight with their father before leaving home, failed a heavily weighted test, and hears other surrounding them gossipping about the circumstances).
  • The client curses out colleagues that have been up all night

Managing the Causes of aggressive behavior

We often think of aggression as manifesting in its physical form. But psychological aggression can also have damaging effects.

Intimidating or verbally berating someone is an example of verbal, mental, and emotional aggression.

All of these examples of aggressive behavior may appear to be troublesome for some people. Yet, before an individual decides to act, the causes of the aggressive behaviour should be taken into consideration.

We hope this article was able to answer your questions about: What is the main cause of aggressive behaviour?

If you want to discover more information about managing aggressive behaviour, follow the link to our other pages on this topic.