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Relationship of Aggressive Behavior and Violence to Psychic Reorganization in Adolescence (From Aggressive Adolescent, P 3-16, 1984, Charles R Keith, ed. - See NCJ-98503)

NCJ Number
S Berman
Date Published
14 pages
A discussion of how aggressive urges are mastered through the developmental phases of infancy and childhood uses clinical examples to show how faulty early development and unmastered destructive urges damage adolescent development, leading to violent antisocial behavior.
It is impractical to speak of a general psychopathology of the individual who acts impulsively, because this behavior is related to many significant and overlapping external and internal factors. However, it is useful to examine adolescent aggressive behavior in terms of the functions of the individual's psychic apparatus: the id, the ego, and the superego. Human aggression, unlike that of other animal species, is not controlled by primitive instincts arising from the need to survive. In humans, time and arduous training are needed to integrate aggressive impulses with other psychic functions. Children who have been raised in conditions of pathological aggressiveness and neglect may be unable to develop and maintain adequate control over this drive. The problem becomes critical in adolescence, as the conflicts from earlier years interfere further with the psychic reorganization that occurs with adolescence. Some aggressive adolescents have not shown significant precursors of aggression during childhood. Many adolescents today exhibit an alienation syndrome, which leads them to the drug culture. Adolescents with maladaptive aggressive behavior are at high risk because of the serious consequences of their behavior. Understanding of the behavior and treatment appropriate to the nature of the disorder, and not just to the disorder's symptoms, is needed. Nine references and two case studies are listed.