Article Reviews & Studies

Aggression and Violence: Origins and Differences


What Is the Difference Between Agression & Violence

Many attributes and environmental factors contribute to the formation and experiences of aggression and violence throughout society. Depending upon genes, hormones, learned behavior, environmental and situational influences, media, parenting, and socioeconomic statuses, varying levels of aggression and upset can be expected.  There are also many ideas of symbolic interactionism which produce meanings behind actions, situations, and reality. Fortunately, there are also ways to reduce aggression and violence, however, it is important to understand the origins, contributing elements, and evolution of aggression to combat and reduce it more fully.

Aggression and Violence: Origins and Differences

            All types of differences contribute to aggression within society.  Some aggression is culturally created, others are more specific demographic differences, such as gender, race, or beliefs (Kassin et al., 2017). Some of the prejudices which spawn injustice and acts of violence can come automatically, while others might be deliberate.  Even those actions which are deliberate, may be a derivative idea stemming from situational or media influences (Kassin et al., 2017).  Aggression can form in many types of relationships as well, from marriages to friendships, within family, and even at school (Timmons et al., 2017). Even with the adversity, there are still ways of controlling thoughts and feelings and there are multi-level approaches to prevent violence and bullying.

Symbolic Interactionism


            Understanding one’s own self is an important part of evaluating how one fits into an environment.  The symbolic interactionism of these types of ideas means that one’s behavior towards anything can be crafted based upon the meanings derived about those things (Chadee, 2011). Furthermore, these meanings come from the social interactions between an individual and others (or their environment). It is important to understand the premise that meanings are interpreted and modified by the person experiencing them, as more experiences and interactions are encountered (Chadee, 2011). And understanding the premises behind experiences opens the door for negotiating the meanings that are otherwise seemingly generically formed (Kant, 2018).

The Effect of Subjective Socioeconomic Status on Aggression

            Seven studies addressing the relationship between aggression and socioeconomic status determined that socioeconomic status had a definite impact on behavior, aggression, and belief (Greitemeyer et al., 2016). The study participants of poorer socioeconomic status experienced feelings of disadvantage and exhibited more signs of aggression. Possessing a low subjective socioeconomic status also negatively influenced a person’s judgements, emotional reactions, and actions in general. Many other studies have outlined very distinct types of violence (such as violence against women) and clearly associated higher victimization in lower socioeconomic communities (Liu et al., 2015). More technical research even reveals changes in brain response patterns associated with violence in low income households (White et al., 2019).

Parenting Behavior and Bullying


            The authors of one article studying parenting behavior and bullying suggests a direct correlation on the amount of bullying experienced by a child and their upbringing and preparatory practices before entering school (Lereya et al., 2013). A systematic review  and prospective cohort studies thoroughly outlined the relationship between parenting behavior and peer victimization. In an interesting turn of results, both bullies and victims involved in bullying were more likely to have been exposed to negative parenting behavior (Lereya et al., 2013). Several other studies indicate similar data, including one comparing children with behavioral problems and those without (Rajendran, 2016). This study revealed children with behavioral problems to come from an inadequate parenting scenario.


            In conclusion, the ideas of thinking behind social interaction and the formation of aggression are hardly studied together enough.  There is a clear link behind environmental influences, parenting, self-esteem, and social interactions, which have an impact on aggression and bullying.  It has also been revealed through the concept of symbolic interactionism that a person can redevelop their sense of meaning about objects, people, and ideas (like aggression) (Chadee, 2011). Controlling social interactions by setting the best examples might be one great way to put all of these research and behavioral knowledge to work.


Chadee, D., (2011). Interdependence in Social Interaction by Ann C. Rumble. Theories in Social Psychology. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. United Kingdom. Pp. 191-193.

Greitemeyer, T., and Sagioglou, C., (2016). Subjective Socioeconomic Status Causes Aggression: A Test of the Theory of Social Deprivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol. (111). Iss. (2). Pp. 178-194.

Kant, V., (2018). Varieties of being “social”: Cognitive work analysis, symbolic interactionism and sociotechnical systems. Hum. Factors Man. Vol. (28). Pp. 309– 326.

Kassin, S., Fein, S., Markus, H. R., (2017). Social Psychology. Tenth Edition.  Cengage Learning. Boston, MA. Pp. 5-6.

Lereya, S., Samara, M., and Wolke, D., (March 2013). Parenting behavior and the risk of becoming a victim and a bully/victim: A meta-analysis study. Child Abuse and Neglect. Vol. (37). Pp. 1091-1108.

Rajendran, K., Kruszewski, E. and Halperin, J.M. (2016), Parenting style influences bullying: a longitudinal study comparing children with and without behavioral problems. J Child Psychol Psychiatr, 57: 188-195. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12433

Timmons, A., Arbel, R., & Margolin, G. (2017). Daily patterns of stress and conflict in couples: Associations with marital aggression and family-of-origin aggression. Journal of Family Psychology, 31(1), 93–104.

White, S.,, Voss, J., Chiang, J., Wang, L., McLaughlin, K., Miller, G., (2019).

Exposure to violence and low family income are associated with heightened amygdala responsiveness to threat among adolescents. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Vol. (40)9. ISSN 1878-9293.

Liu, Y., and Fullerton, T., (2015). Evidence from Mexico on social status and violence against women, Applied Economics, 47:40, 4260-4274, DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2015.1026588

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