The tendency of aggressiveness/violence

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The tendency of aggressiveness and violence, as a contemporary social problem, has reached the educational environment. A sample of Greek pre-adolescent school aged children (N=302), with different social backgrounds was tested in order to measure attitudes regarding to the verbal, physical and psychological tendency of aggressiveness/violence. Totally, pupils showed a tendency of aggressiveness/violence that ranged a bit over the average, while the range of aggressiveness/violence was shown increased in boys rather than in girls. As far as the range of aggressiveness/violence in relation to the geographical area is concerned, the range seemed increased in children of urban centers, with children of semi-urban and rural areas following, while a greater percentage was shown by pupils of the fifth grade in comparison to those of the sixth grade.


The tendency of aggressiveness and violence constitute enormous contemporary social problems that have, unfortunately, already reached the educational environment. Schools are no longer the innocent victims of secluded incidents of aggressiveness/violence, neither are the safe places that are protected by their exterior origin. Aggressiveness/violence exists in society, in schools, in their culture and in the relations of power (Tattum & Lane, 1988; Beynon, 1989; Kenworthy, 1999; Mills, 2001). The issue of the school tendency of aggressiveness and violence has taken greater dimension lately, since quite frequently we observe acts of kinds of aggressive/violent behavior on the part of pupils', the school environment and outside of it targeting pupils, teachers. The causes that contribute to this manifestation of aggressive or violent tendencies are varied and many, as cultural influences are. Some theories accept that the tendency of aggressiveness/violence is caused by biological factors, that is to say internal causes and biological "instincts" (Freud, Engels, Lorentz), while others believe of aggressiveness/violence as a result of cultural effects and generally the social learning and experiences of the subject through the process of socialization and culturalization (Herbert, 1992; Segall et al, 1993). The tendency of school aggressiveness/violence is no more than the reflection of the general social aggressiveness/violence and it is a symptom of the low quality of provided education and the reason of the general social exclusion (Artinopoulou, 2001: 90).

Not all though the aggressive and violent behaviors can be observed completely with explanation that are about the inadequate or exclusive behavior of the culprit or even the dis-functions of the family and of the social environment (Freiderikou & Folerou, 2003; 2004).

For aggressiveness, many of the scientists who have human behavior as their study object define it as "a line of actions that has, as a final aim, to cause 'damage' to the person that they are directed to" (Segall et al, 1993: 314). In the international bibliography the term bullying is used, which is explained as intimidation in the school environment (Artinopoulou, 2001) and it is about school violence among pupils, from pupils to teachers, from teachers to pupils and among teachers and the term mobbing when there is psychological violence. There are often noticed and reported incidents of infliction of the will of one group of pupils against another group or against some isolated pupils, causing damage -physical or material- and threatening of maltreatment or abuse by hitting, kicking, teasing, sexual implications, etc. (Dimitriou, 2003). All the above terms are included in the term "umbrella" abuse. Most forms of aggressiveness/violence and abuse are a result of the compulsion from the unevenness of power, from the uneven distribution of power in the school environment (Tattum & Lane, 1998; Beynon, 1989; Mills, 2001). Often the phenomenon is observed in the frame of class hierarchy where the pupils who are the victims of maltreatment to abuse is turn their weaker co-pupils in order to confirm their own power with the subjugation of others (Artinopoulou, 2001: 14-6). It is known that quite often phenomena of school aggressiveness/violence are not reported to the wide social environment by the management and the teachers in order to avoid the humiliation of the school unit, the teachers' and the pupils' who are involved in such incidents, a fact that doesn't solve the problem but just covers it temporarily. Vaso Artinopoulou says that "the dark number of school violence is high" (o.p. 2001: 85). The results of many investigations in our country and in other countries as well, have confirmed than an important number of pupils, approximately 10%, bother on purpose their co-pupils (Schuster, 1996). An investigation by Hatzis et al (2000) for the bullying in the last three grades of elementary schools in Athens showed that the 14,70% of the pupils had been the victims of bullying, with the boys being high in the indications of all categories. The most frequent form of intimidation (42,50%) was directly verbal, with the boys receiving mostly physical violence, while the girls receiving verbal violence and indirect intimidation, such as spreading rumors. Investigations done in other countries have shown that boys use more physical violence than girls do, while girls are more apt to becoming the victims of verbal aggressiveness than boys (Archer et al, 1989). Very often, when girls fight among themselves, their aggressiveness is restricted to recriminations (Herbert, 1992: 320).


Taking into consideration all the above, the research aim of this investigation is to monitor the level tendencies of aggressiveness/violence in pupils of southern Greek countryside. We will also try to examine possible differences in aggressive/violent behavior of pupils (boys and girls) influenced by factors such as age and geographical stratification where the school units of this investigation belonged. Based on the above theoretical and empirical evidence, we formulate the following research hypothesis: "the boys will adapt tendencies of aggressive/violent behavior where as the girls will be limited only to verbal recriminations, while the boys will be those who are once more those who will be receivers of physical violence in a greater percentage compared to the girls". Our research try is based on the logic that older pupils will be involved in more phenomena of tendencies of aggressive/violent behavior because of the geographical stratification is concerned (urban, semi-urban and rural centers).


We address the core research themes of our study using a survey. The research hypothesis aim to test pupils' attitudes (with different social backgrounds) regarding to the verbal, physical and psychological tendency of aggressiveness/violence.

Participants, Procedure & Data Collection

The present study was based on a sample of 10% of the elementary schools of an educational area. Grades five and six were chosen from the above school units. The final sample is determined by random stratification, consisted of 160 boys and 142 girls, (N=302). 149 pupils of the total sample of are from grade five and 108 pupils were from grade six. Regarding to the stratification of the school units, about thirty-nine (39,40%) are from urban centers, about thirty (30,13%) from semi-urban centers and about thirty (30,46%) from rural areas. Regarding to the pupils of the urban centers about fifty-four (53,80%) are boys and about forty-six (46,20%) were girls. Regarding to the pupils of the semi-urban centers about fifty-two (51,70%) are boys and forty-eight (48,30%) are girls. Regarding to the pupils of the rural areas about fifty-three (53,30%) are boys and about forty-seven (46,79%) are girls. In order to proceed to the collection of the data, a formal permission from pupils' parents and teaching staff was needed, in order to secure our research try without any misconception.

The research hypothesis is supported, which means that the boys will adapt tendencies of aggressive/violent behavior where as the girls will be limited only to verbal recriminations, while the boys will be those who are once more those who will be receivers of physical violence in a greater percentage compared to the girls.


According to Herbert Martin (1992) some differences between boys and girls as far as aggressiveness is concerned might depend on the fact that parents tend to criticize girls acting violently more than they do boys because, in our society, the girl supposedly plays the part of the obedient and sensitive creature who must always offer love and tenderness. Because society wants men to be demanding claimers, parents tend to approve of the aggressiveness of their male children and to consider it as a primary element of manliness. A recent investigation published in the authentic medical periodical Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine by doctors of Ancara, rings the warning bell for the problems caused to children by television. It was found that children who spend a lot of time watching television, have more chances of developing aggressive or violent behavior independently from the content of the program watched. Also, in the United States it was determined by an investigation that the percentage of violence and criminality have dramatically increased after the entrance of the television in the home environment ( Centerwall, 1989). The child, according to the theory of social learning (Bandura, 1983) has the tendency to imitate. It is considered by researchers that the child imitates the acts of violence watched on television. On the other hand, investigations done in Stanford University in the U.S.A. and in London University of England showed among others, something that we think is very important: " What children get from television and how it influences them, depends primarily on how parents have taught them to use the television". So, the results of the investigation, as far as the influences of tendencies of violence caused by their exposition to television violence are concerned, are contradictory and this is an extra fact that makes the formation and conduction of conclusion difficult. Furthermore, as far as the correlation of the aggressive/violent behavior with the environment is concerned, the pediatrician Dr. Kekko Markou (Herbert, 1992) reports the aggressive tendencies are noticed more in children of big urban centers, due to the fact that they have a lack of activity spaces, than they are in smaller cities and rural areas where open spaces, courtyards and neighborhoods still exist, something that seems to be true in our investigation as well.

the difficult conditions taking place in the general social environment (anxiety and criticism, traumatization of self-evaluation, object of mockerring by others)

Based on our hypothesis, when we started this investigation, we realize that we were correct :

in relation to the sex (boys are shown more aggressive/violent than girls with a percentage of 61% and 42% correspondingly)

in relation to the geographical stratification of areas (the tendency of aggressiveness/violence is greater in children in urban areas with 55%, followed by a 52% for the semi-urban area children and a 49% for the rural area children)

In contrary, though our hypothesis on the relation to the age/class was contradicted where fifth grade children show a greater tendency of violence as supposed to the sixth grade children with a percentage of 52% and 49% correspondently. The phenomenon of aggressive/violent tendencies includes a total number of activities which have as a result the physical-psychic pain of people who work in a social environment. The reasons for the appearance of the aggressive/violent tendency behavior are established among others in:

the family (demotion, over-protectiveness, life experiences in the family, deficient time, passive behavior of parents, frequent changes on people of reference, frequent changes in living establishment)


From what we conclude, by studying the bibliography, the present investigation is the first wide range area investigation done in this area and it is centered in the tendency of aggressiveness/violence that pre-adolescent pupils show. Direct comparisons with data from investigations from other areas in Greece are difficult, due to the differences in chronological periods that were done, to the size of the sample and to the type of the investigation. Ahmad and Smith (1990) report that the antonym is of crucial importance from this point of view and for this reason, the antonym of the people taking part in this investigation is secured. Furthermore, Osterman et al (1994) noted that people taking part might deny desires and behaviors that are condemned by most societies. It is possible for the above reason that the prices for the questions of aggressiveness to appear lessened