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What Influence Antisocial Behaviour?

Essay by Milla Mcnally  •  December 2, 2018  •  Essay  •  1,618 Words (7 Pages)  •  177 Views

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The origin and the development of certain human behaviors is often debated; whether it is a factor of genetic predisposition or a consequence of external interactions. Depending on the type of human behavior, it may have consequences and cause a burden on society. An example of this is anti-social behavior, actions which go against society’s norms and which threaten the lives of another person (Antisocial Behaviors). As a behavior which posture challenges, developmental psychologists push to research into the factors which influence it, in hopes to help manage struggling individuals and prevent its development in others. This essay will evaluate the social and environmental factors which influence the development anti-social behavior by specifically looking at peer relationships, child parent relationships and the presence of violent media.

Child-parent relationship is dependent on many things. When looking at specifically the attachment bond created between the two, we can assess its factor in affecting the development of anti-social behavior. The importance of attachment can be supported by the Attachment theory developed by John Bowlby (1982), who suggested that infants are predisposed to form a bond with an individual through which they can experience comfort and security. There are two different types of attachments and, depending on its nature, the development of behavior will differ. The pleasurable and loving attachment is known as the secure attachment which is associated to a secure, positive and emotional relationship, and allows the child to develop trust and reliance in others and a prosocial behavior (Bowlby, 1982). On the other hand, experiences to insensitive, neglecting and rejecting parenting develops an insecure attachment which can be either avoidant or ambivalent and is associated to objectionable behavior (Ainsworth 1970). The experiences with the parent and attachment are ones in which a child constantly refers to when faced with a variety of emotions and, therefore as Bowlby (1982) suggests, becomes the base for development and an internal working model and is the reason for either prosocial or antisocial behavior. In a study conducted amongst African, European and Mexican American adolescents, the relationship between parent attachment to self-esteem and self-reported acts of antisocial behaviors (Arbona et al, 2003) was assessed. It was noted that securely attached adolescents had higher self-esteem and lower involvement in antisocial behaviors, compared to the insecurely attached participants. Similarly, in a meta analytic study (Fearon et al. 2010), the association between insecure attachments and externalizing problems was analyzed and showed that the association was significant. The studies do show that, as Bowbly (1982) said, depending on the nature of the attachment they have either developed an antisocial or prosocial behavior. However, due to the lack of long-term research, and the fact that they are cross-sectional studies makes it difficult to establish a cause and effect relationship. It is further important to note, that the attachments occur at an early age and early experiences do not prevent later adjustments to affect the development of antisocial behavior. Despite that, the theory and both studies support the idea that the attachment in a child-parent relationship does effect the development of antisocial behavior.

Additionally, other relationships and interactions appear at different stages of one's life and may influence the behaviors development. Relationships with antisocial peers is an example and may lead to an individual to be more likely to develop and/or engage in antisocial activity. Several cross-sectional studies have investigated the effect of different relationships amongst peers, one of which took 305 high school adolescent and compared their friendship status (no mutual friends, non-deviant friends or deviant friends) to their levels of irresponsible behavior and emotion. (Brendgen, M, 2000). The results, as expected, showed that those who had deviant friends had more of an irresponsible/antisocial behavior. However, the high school context may change certain participants levels of behaviors due to standard rules therefore, it’s important to look at results outside school context showing that the relationship between peers is the influencer and not the environment I.e. a school setting. In a study conducted by Heinze, Toro, and Urberg (2004), 401 homeless and non-educational adolescents and high school adolescents were surveyed on antisocial behavior. Their results were the same, and indicated that despite the environment or situation, deviant peers had a higher report of antisocial behavior. The two studies show an insight on the influence of peer relations however, cross-sectional studies compare similar characteristics between individuals but neglect to track the change or development of an individual. Therefore, looking at a longitudinal study using data from 1354 antisocial youths (Monahan, 2009), we can assess the relationships effect over time. The study examined the effect of antisocial behavior from middle adolescence into young adulthood (14 to 22 years) depending on their exposure to antisocial peers and resistance to peer influence. (Monahan 2009) Evidence showed that antisocial individuals affiliated and influenced by antisocial peers effected the individual's behavior. However, as individuals aged the influence of peers decreased and their resistance increased, suggesting that their antisocial behavior may subsequently decrease as well (Samek, Goodman, Erath, McGue & Iacono 2016). The three studies support the idea that affiliation with antisocial peers have an influence on antisocial behavior. However, the participants in the three studies were adolescents, and as mentioned in the longitudinal study, as the participants grow older and their resistance towards anti-social peers increase, their behavior may decrease. We could therefore, question whether peer relations are temporal influencer that only affects antisocial behavior when at a vulnerable age of peer pressure and pressure of social norms, i.e adolescents.

The relationships individuals have in their lifetime is not the only interaction they are exposed to, with the rise of technology the presence

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